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His whole soul was so taken up with divine things, and the never-ceasing desire of benefiting the souls of men, that his principal delight consisted in imparting to his people the knowledge of divine truth,-- in comforting them in their trials,---in fortifying their minds against the temptations of the world, and in encouraging them in their Christian warfare. The familiar and engaging manner with which he conducted himself in his private visitations, endeared him to his people, and made them always happy when they saw him entering their houses. He paid regular visitations, every day; and the salvation of Christ, and the blessings that flow from it, were the theme that formed the beginning and the end of all such interviews.ini fi. ; Mr Barclay's disposition being naturally open and unsuspecting, he took those who bore a favourable appearance, to be as honest as himself. On this account he was often deceived in his estimate of characters. In his enjoyments, Mr Barclay was temperate; and in all his claims he was moderate, almost to an extreme. In discipline, he was rather lenient; and referred more to the power of divine truth upon the conscience, , than to church censuré; alleging, that the cords of discipline when drawn too close, might make hypocrisy the deeper, but could never make men what in reality they were not.
His death, which happened on the 29th of July 1798, was occasioned by apoplexy. That day being Sabbath, and feeling himself rather
unwell, he took a circuitous walk to the meeting-house ; but perceiving himself to be no better, he was under the necessity of calling at one of his member's houses. In a few minutes after he entered the house, he expired without a sigh or a groan. It is somewhat remarkable, that the family in whose house he died, was among the first who gave him the right hand of fellowship in Edinburgh.
Mr Barclay was twice married, but had no issue.
He was succeeded in the pastorial office by Mr James Donaldson from Dundee, who continued faithfully to discharge his ministerial duties in Edinburgh for 25 years. Mr Barclay and Mr Donaldson were both interred in the Calton Old Burying Ground, where a monument, bearing the following inscription, has been erected to their memories,
JOHN BARCLAY, A. M.
his Successor, who
THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
Is it not surprising at this day, when all honest
freedom of inquiry is beginning to be so much indulged, that those vast mountains of rubbish which whole legions of commentators have been heaping for ages upon the Psalms, are still suffered to lie almost unmolested, untouched ? For what though some one, happily, may have discovered, assayed, and laid open the golden vein of truth which runs through that precious portion of the book of God; where have they been found who have pursued the track, and wrought the mine? or, if some have actually begun to put their hands to the work, yet in such a shy, reserved, partial, hidden manner have they proceeded, that we may still say, where are they? who are they? as if they had been stealing away, rather than boldly avouching the cause of truth.
How much the cause of truth, to the hurting of many souls, hath suffered by wresting that,
6 that no pro
particular book of divine inspiration, may appear from .a comparison of the common stream of commentators with the words of the Holy Ghost; who hath certified
us, • phecy of the Scripture is of any private inter
pretation. For the prophecy came. not in old time,' or at any time, as the margin reads,
by the will of man ; but holy men of God * spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' Now, where has the Holy Ghost, in the whole public interpretation of the Old Testament writings by the apostles, given any one hint for applying any one of the Psalms, or any one part of a Psalm, to David, or any one of the penmen, concerning whom we hear so much, who soever they were ? Is not a dead silence observed on this head throughout the whole New Testament? A shrewd hint, that, whoever was employed, the Holy Ghost had no hand in any such applications : for he hath said to the churches concerning the salvation which the apostles preached, that the prophets inquired
and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching
what, or what manner of time the Spirit of • Christ which was in them did signify, when s'it testified before-hand the sufferings of Christ, « and the glory that should follow. Unto whom
it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but
unto us they did minister the things which are * now reported unto you, by them that have
preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy