Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/97

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REV. JOHN LIVINGSTON. 467

Finding all prospect of a parochial settlement in his native country precluded by the bishops, Mr Livingston was induced, in August, 1630, to accept the charge of the parish of Killinchie, in the north of Ireland, where a consider- able portion of the population consisted of Scots. Here he ministered with great success, insomuch that, by one sermon preached in the neighbouring parish of Holywood, he was calculated to have converted a thousand persons in as effectual a manner as he had done the five hundred at Shotts. Such extensive utility is, perhaps, only to be expected in a country such as Scotland and Ire- land then were, and as America has more recently been ; but yet, as similar acts are recorded of no contemporary clergyman whose name is familiar to us, we must necessarily conclude, that there was something in the oratorical talents and spiritual gifts of Mr Livingston, which marked him out as a most extraordinary man. His success, as a minister, is less agreeably proved in another way by the persecution, namely, of the bishop in whose diocese he officiated. After being once suspended and replaced, he was, in May, 1632, deposed, along with Messrs Blair, Welsh, and Dunbar; after which, he could only hold private meetings with his flock. He and several of his people were now become so desperate, as to the enjoyment of religion, in their own way, under British in- stitutions, that they formed a resolution to emigrate to America. He accord- ingly set sail from Weymouth ; but being driven back by a contrary wind, some circumstances induced him to change his mind. Almost immediately after his return, he and his deposed brethren were reinstated by a letter of the lord deputy Stratford ; and, for a year and a half, he continued to preach at Kil. linchie.

Mr Livingston's salary, in this charge, was only four pounds a-year ; yet he takes pains to assure us, that notwithstanding all his travels from place to place, and also occasional visits to Scotland, he never wanted money. He lets slip, afterwards, however, that he received sums occasionally from the countesses of Eglintoune and Wigton, and other devout ladies. His mode of life was so fully justified by the circumstances of the times, which rendered it by no means singular, that Mr Livingston was not deterred from forming a matrimonial con- nexion. He had formed an attachment to the eldest daughter of Bartholomew Fleming, merchant in Edinburgh, '* of most worthy memory." The young lady was also recommended to him by the favourable speeches of many of his friends. Yet and the fact is a curious trait of the age and of the man he spent nine months " in seeking directions from God, before he could make up his mind to pay his addresses. " It is like," he says, " I might have been longer in that darkness, except the Lord had presented me an occasion of our conferring together; for, in November 1634, when I was going to the Friday meeting at Antrim, [the lady was then residing on a visit in Ireland,] I forgathered with her and some others, going thither, and propounded to them, by the way, to confer upon a text, whereon I was to preach the day after at Antrim; wherein I found her conference so just and spiritual, that 1 took that for some answer to my prayer to have my mind cleared, and blamed myself that I had not before taken occasion to confer with her. Four or five days after, I proposed the matter, and desired her to think upon it ; and, after a week or two, I went to her mother's house, and, being alone with her, desiring her answer, I went to prayer, and desired her to pray, which at last she did : and in that time I got abundant clearness that it was the Lord's mind that I should marry her, and then propounded the matter more fully to her mother ; and, albeit, I was then fully cleared, I may truly say it was about a month after, before I got marriage affection to her, although she was, for personal endowments, beyond many of her equals, and I got it not till I obtained it by prayer ; but, thereafter, I had greater difficulty to moderate it."