Drysdale, John, D. D.

a distinguished clergyman of the established church of Scotland, the third son of the rev. John Drysdale, minister of Kirkaldy, was born April 29, 1718, and educated there in classical learning. In 1732, he was sent to finish his studies at the university of Edinburgh; and in 1740, was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Kirkaldy, was several years assistant minister of the collegiate church in Edinburgh, and in 1748 was presented to the church of Kirkliston. After residing there for fifteen years, he was presented to lady Yester’s church, by the town-council of Edinburgh. This being the first instance in which the magistrates of that city had exercised their right of presentation, which was thought | to reside in the parishioners, and Mr. Drysdale being suspected of favouring in his discourses the Arminian tenets, a very common objection to the modern church of Scotland, a formidable opposition was made to his institution; but the magistrates proving victorious, he obtained a settlement in lady Yester’s church. The sermons he preached there, says professor Dalzel, although his mode of delivery was by no means correct, always attracted a great concourse of hearers, whom he never failed to delight and instruct by an eloquence of the most nervous and interesting kind. His natural diffidence for some prevented his appearing as a speaker in the ecclesiastical judicatures; but he was at length induced to co-operate with Dr. Robertson, in defence of what was termed the moderate party in the church of Scotland. In 1765, the university of Aberdeen, unsolicited, conferred upon him the degree of D, D. by diploma, and on the death of Dr. Jardine, he was preferred to the church of Tron, and appointed a king’s chaplain, with the allowance of one-third the emoluments arising from the deanery of the chapel royal. In 1773, having obtained the character of an able and impartial divine, he was unanimously elected moderator of the general assembly of the Scottish kirk; “the greatest mark of respect,” observes his biographer, “which an ecclesiastical commonwealth can bestow.” In 1784 he was re-elected, by a great majority, to the same dignity. In May, 17s8, he appeared at the general assembly, and the first day acted as principal clerk, but was taken ill, and died on the 16th of June following, aged seventy years. His general character was that of betievolence and inflexible integrity. His candour obtained him many friends; and even such as were of different sentiments in church affairs, and held different religious tenets, esteemed the man, and with these he kept up a friendly intercourse. “Indeed,” adds the professor, “never any man more successfully illustrated what he taught by his own conduct and manners.” His reputation as a preacher was very great; and on an occasional visit he made to London, Mr. Strahan, the late printer, endeavoured to persuade him to publish a volume of sermons. On his return to Scotland he began a selection for the purpose, but his modesty hindered his proceeding, and induced him, finally, to relinquish the plan. After his death, his son-in-law, the late professor Dalzel, who h;,d the inspection of his manuscripts, made a selection of his | sermons, and published them in two 8vo volumes, with biographical anecdotes of his life, which were published also in the " Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 1

1 i- raious and Transactions as above, vol. III.