Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/159

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COLIN MACLAURIN. 529


Gospel History " has hitherto attracted the notice of the public less than any of his other productions ; but it well deserves to be more generally read ; since of what it proposes to establish, it contains the most satisfying views that can be suggested by learning, acuteness, and good sense, and is admitted by the best iudges to be a performance as useful and instructive as any we have on that im- portant subject. It is, in fact, a kind of storehouse, from which subsequent writers on the same subject, have borrowed largely in point of argument and illustration.

The " Commentary on the Apostolical Epistles" is now held in peculiar esti- mation ; and it may be doubted whether the scope of the sacred authors of these writings was ever, in any former age of Christianity, more fully, clearly, and happily stated, than has been done by Dr. Macknight, in the general views and illustrations which he has prefixed to the several chapters of the Epistles.

The Life of the Apostle Paul, which concludes the fourth volume of " The Translation and Commentary," is an excellent compendium of the apostolical history, and may be considered as the author's view and illustration of the Acts of the Apostles the only part of the New Testament writings (besides the Reve- lation of St John) to which the labours of Dr Macknight, as a commentator, were not directed. In all his writings, his style, though unambitious of ele- gance or ornament, is perspicuous, and appropriate to the subject.

All Dr Macknight's works were originally printed in quarto. Of the " Har- mony" and the " Epistles" many editions have since been published in octavo. To show the respect which has been paid in England to his various works, the following passage from the " Library Companion" of the Rev. T. F. Dibdin, may be quoted. After recommending to the young theologian the works of Lardner, Doddridge, and Watts, Mr Dibdin says, " Nor let the name of Mac- knight be forgotten. His works, indeed, are the more exclusive property of the disciplined theological student ; but the general reader will do well to se- cure his inviting quartos upon the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament. In these he will find learning without pedantry, and piety without enthusiasm. In short, no theological collection can be perfect without them. If any man may be said to have exhausted his subject, it is Macknight."

Soon after the time of his being ordained, Dr Macknight married Elizabeth M'Cormick, eldest daughter of Samuel M'Cormick, Esq., general examiner of the excise in Scotland. Of his family the only one remaining became a clergy- man of the church of Scotland.

MACLAURIN, COLIN, an eminent mathematician and philosopher, was de- scended from an ancient and respectable family, which had long been in pos- session of the island of Tiree, a solitary but comparatively fertile member of the Hebridean range. His grandfather, Daniel M'Laurin, removed thence to In- verary, and contributed greatly to restore that town, which was nearly ruined in the civil wars. He wrote some memoirs of his own times, and appears to have been a man of superior abilities. John, the son of Daniel, and father of Colin, was minister of the parish of Glenderule, where he was greatly beloved as a faithful and diligent pastor ; he completed a version of the Psalms in Irish, which was generally used in those parts of the country where divine service was performed in that language. He married a lady of the name of Cameron, by whom he had three sons. John, the eldest, was for many years one of the min- isters of the city of Glasgow, and well known as the author of several essays and sermons ; he was also one of the most popular preachers of his day. Daniel, the second son, died at an early age, after having given proofs of surprising genius; and Colin, born at Kilmoddan, in the month of February, 1698. His father died six weeks after; but the loss to the family was not so severely felt