Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

ried Miss Margaret Charters, a young lady to whom he had been long attached. After he had resided about three years in Leith, he made a visit to London, where he preached at several of the Scots meeting-houses, particularly in those of Swallow-street and London-wall. Soon after his return to Leith, he received an offer of the ministry to Swallowstreet Meeting-house, which then yielded a stipend of two hundred a year, more than double the income he received at Leith. He declined this offer, intimating privately to his friends, that nothing would induce him to quit his congregation at Leith, unless he were to obtain the church at London-wall. In little more than eighteen months that charge became vacant, and shortly afterwards he received an unanimous call to supply the vacancy. He accordingly left Leith, to the great regret of his parishioners, and entered on the charge of London-wall Meeting-house in August 1771. Having determined to educate his own children, he instituted a private academy in his house, where he superintended the education of a small number of pupils.

In 1784 Dr Hunter published the two first volumes of his Sacred Biography, consisting of a series of lectures or discourses on the lives of the most eminent persons recorded in the Sacred Scriptures. This work met with great success, being both original in its design, and executed in a masterly manner, and was afterwards extended to six volumes. To these he afterwards added a seventh on the life of our Saviour. He likewise, pub lished two volumes of Miscellaneous Sermons in 1795, most of which had been previously printed separately. These had been written for particular occasions, and mostly to commemorate the anniversaries of various charitable institutions; and are prefaced by short memoirs, anecdotes, and illustrations, respecting the persons, institutions, and events which gave occasion to their composition. This collection likewise contains accounts of the Scottish Incorporation, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and the Society for promoting Religious Knowledge among the Poor.

In January 1797, the Rev. John Fell began a course of lectures on the Evidences of

Christianity, which he delivered on the first Sunday of every month at London-wall Meeting-house. The design being interrupted by the death of Mr Fell, who had only delivered four of these lectures, Dr HUNTER was prevailed on to complete the series, originally intended to have been twelve in number. And the whole twelve were afterwards published in one volume, and quickly passed through three editions. After his decease, two volumes of sermons and other miscellaneous pieces were published, which complete the series of his original works : We shall now give a short account of his translations of the works of others.

The first of his translations was that of the singular work by Lavater on Physiognomy; in the course of which he actually travelled to Zurich in Switzerland for the express purpose of paying a visit to LAVATER; whom he characterised as “ a strange, wild, eccentric creature; possessing great genius, unaffected piety, unbounded benevolence, moderate learning, much caprice and unsteadiness, a mind at once aspiring by nature, and grovelling through necessity, with an endless turn to speculation and project; in a word, a cle

ver, flighty, good natured, necessitous man." The first number of this work in English was published in January 1789, in a style of elegance, both as to printing and engraving, to which the public was then little accustomed ; being among the first of those expensive publications which have done so much honour to the talents of our artists, and the public spirit of our country. In January 1795, he published a translation of Euler's Letters to a German Princess, a work which explains many of the most abstruse subjects in philosophy in a clear and simple manner. In the same year he published a translation of the Studies of Nature by BERNARDINE ST. PIERRE. A work abounding in excellent moral and philanthrophic sentiments, but full of declamation and absurd hypothesis. In 1796, he published the translation of a volume of Sermons by SAURIN; and in 1800, a translation of Memoirs of the Empress of Russia by CasTERA; which completes the list of his literary exertions.

DR HUNTER long officiated as chaplain to the Scottish Incorporation ; and in August 1790 he was elected Secretary to the Corresponding Board at London of the Society

for Propagating Christian Knowledge in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland; and to his exertions both of these excellent institutions owe a large portion of the ample funds they now enjoy.

DR HUNTER was a tall slender man, with a strongly marked countenance of much expression; his mind was energetic, his heart uncommonly warm, and his feelings quick and powerful. Whatever he undertook he prosecuted with ardour, and his views were always bent on some important or interesting object. Though uncommonly lively and agreeable in conversation, he had not the smallest turn for raillery or repartee, and perhaps never attempted a joke in the whole course of his life ; yet had a keen relish for those social qualities in others, when innocently exerted, and was an admirable judge of humour, which he either actually did not possess, or never allowed himself to indulge. As a pulpit orator his abilities were of the first order; clear and perspicuous in reasoning and arrangement of his subject, animated and pathetic in the expression of feelings, solemn, distinct, and engaging, in delivery.

« AnteriorContinuar »