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A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR of the Rev. Joun Brown, once Minister of Wamphray, has been long desired by many true Presbyterians and real Christians. The Author has attempted, in the following Work, to supply that deficiency. How he has executed his task, will be decided by a candid and discriminating public. The materials of which he could avail himself were very scanty indeed. Except when Mr Brown became the subject of prelatic vengeance, an incidental mention of him by some cotemporary is all that can be obtained. He wrote, in Latin, what he calls, “ Information concerning himself;" but, with the exception of giving one date generally, and fixing another particularly, it affords no information which is not to be found in Wodrow. He published, indeed, a great deal after he was banished, but not one line which, dying, he could wish to blot. He left no diary, though it is probable he kept one, nor any account of himself, or his family, except the little his Will supplies. Every thing material that we could collect relating to him, has been inserted. Few men deserved better that every thing which could be learned concerning them should be made public. He so feared God and regarded man, that little he either said or did needed to be concealed.

The notices of his cotemporaries and associates in exile may be thought disproportionate to the rest of the work, but who would have wished the accounts of Mr Livingston,


Colonel Wallace, and Mr Macward, had been omitted, or much more abbreviated? The notice which the Author has taken of some leaves in his own history, was forced upon him, he conceived, like several other topics, by Mr Brown's pregnant letters, now for the first time published. There are some things that may by some be thought irrevelant, but as the compilation was intended for the unlearned rather than the learned, there is very little that they will deem extraneous, when it furnishes them with new information, or revives that which has been obliterated. Rutherford's Letters, Wodrow's History, M'Crie's Notices of Colonel Wallace, and Steven's History of the Scottish Church in Rotterdam, are the chief sources, so far as the Life is concerned, from which the Writer has drawn his materials. He thought it might be useful to have the scattered hints which have been published concerning such a man even collected and arranged. It will be seen whence he chiefly derived the Astronomical Note ; and for the Historical Appendix, imperfect as it is, he has been indebted to many historians. Having fixed, and, in a great measure, completed his plan more than a year ago, the Author was permitted to visit the Advocates' Library, (that storehouse of all knowledge, ancient and modern,) with a courtesy which does honour to its curators, an urbanity which distinguishes its librarians, and a generosity which reflects the highest honour on the Faculty. There he found a number of unpublished letters, in Latin and English, the best of which he has selected, and, from the striking events of the times, illustrated. The Notes have swelled beyond all anticipation, but, bating the opinions of the Author on various subjects, they will be found to contain not a little


information. The better informed reader will perceive that contributions, great or small, valuable or valueless, have been made to the work from various sources, which the Author did not reckon it necessary at the time, and cannot now altogether particularise. He may have seemed to travel out of his way to pluck a flower at a little distance, which may be thought not in strict keeping with the boquet, but his object was to condense as much information as practicable, (and he flatters himself he has seen few books containing more); and, besides, he has rather introduced what may be reckoned not much connected, at the risk of being tedious, than refer to a work which the unlearned reader might not be able to obtain. All that he has collected from other sources, has long since passed the ordeal of criticism, or met with almost entire approbation, and although part of it may be in the possession of some, it will be new to the most into whose hands this volume may come. If any should think that the thread of biography is extremely slender, and perhaps not continuous, the Author could make it no stronger nor more connected, for every fact and date that he could find concerning Mr Brown have been collected and inserted. The only work that occurred to his mind during its composition was Sir Henry Moncreiff Wellwood's Life of Dr Erskine ; but he is not aware that, even in arrangement, it bears the most distant likeness to that able and excellent work. The Author may be allowed to allude to the language of the late excellent Bishop Horne, in the conclusion of the preface to his pious and learned Commentary on the Book of Psalms, though

inferior the theme, and greatly also the execution : the LIFE OF Mr Brown has kept his mind employed, and


helped him to pass, with some degree of satisfaction, a few of his transitory days, and left, at least, no unpleasant reflection behind. If the perusal of this simple, unadorned volume, and especially the letters of Mr Brown, shall afford as much

gratification to the reader as the collecting of the materials has afforded the Editor, his labour will not be lost. If it does nothing more than facilitate the labour of any biographer who may at some future period, and with additional information, exhibit the Life of Mr Brown in all its brilliant lustre, the pains of the Author will be amply compensated. That the God whom Mr Brown so faithfully and resolutely served


make it the means of doing good to many who may, if necessary, contend unto the death for religious and civil liberty, and who may afterwards join that excellent man in the realms of glory, is the earnest desire of


EDINBURGH, 24th July, 1839.




Of the month, or even the year, in which Mr John Brown was born, there is no information in any memoir of him that has yet been published. Whether any register of births and baptisms was then kept in his native parish, or whether there is any family Bible yet extant, containing a family register, or whether any direct descendants or collateral branches of the family still remain, who may be able to give some traditional relation, or whether any account of his birth may be furnished in any notices of his contemporaries, may perhaps yet appear, by the circulation of this brief, and necessarily imperfect memorial. If he attained the grand climacteric of human life, current or completed, so anciently yet infallibly fixed by the Jewish legislator, under the unerring direction of the Spirit of God, he must have been ushered into this waste-howling wilderness about the year sixteen hundred and nine. After the incarcerations, persecutions, privations, and afflictions, with which he was visited, we can scarcely suppose that the web of his life would wear above seventy years. He who has been a month in jail, has, humanly speaking, abbreviated his life at least a year. He who has been incarcerated wrongously will necessarily feel it more severely, and have his health more speedily injured. He who was confined in the best prison in Scotland, suppose it were in the heart of Mid-Lothian, for six weeks, one hundred and seventy-six years ago, in the chill months of November and December, shortened his life, so far as human calculation can go, nearly six years. He might, like Paul and Silas,-and few will doubt he would, if he were awake, be singing praises at midnight unto God. He would, in


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