Erskine, Ebenezer, A. M.

, son of the above, was born in the prison of the Bass, June 22, 1680, and in 1701 took his degree of M. A. in the university of Edinburgh. lu 1703 he was ordained minister of Portmoak in the county of Fife, where he discharged the pastoral duty with great integrity till 1731, when he was made choice of to be one of the ministers of Stirling. In April 1732, being chosen moderator of the synod of Perth and Stirling, it was his turn to preach at the opening of that synod at Perth, and in his sermon he took occasion to censure some late proceedings of the general assembly of the church of Scotland, respecting patronage; and this brought on a prosecution against him, which was conducted with so little judgment or moderation on the part of the assembly, as eventually to occasion a schism in the church of great extent. This is usually known by the name of the secession, and its adherents by that of Seceders, now a very numerous body in Scotland, for whose history we may refer to a very impartial and well-written account under the article Seceders, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or to a tract, where their history is more minutely detailed, entitled “An historical account of the rise and progress | of the Secession,” by John Brown, minister of the gospel at Hadclington. Mr. Erskine, however, experienced by this no falling off in his popularity, being still beloved by his hearers, and esteemed even by those who were his professed enemies, A meeting was built for him at Stirling, where he officiated to a very numerous congregation, and where he died, June 2, 1754. As a gentleman and a scholar, few ever equalled him; and, although but in low circumstances, his charity was unbounded. Four volumes of his sermons were printed at Glasgow in 8vo, 1762, and a fifth volume at Edinburgh, 1765, under the patronage of the late duchess of Northumberland, in whose family one of his sons lived as a gardener. 1


Brown’s Historical Account. and Life prefixed to the Woiks of Ralph Erskine.