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with many, which ended only with his life.
Having still, upon his return to his native place, more than six months, on account of his
before he could, according to the acts of the General Assembly, be admitted upon probationary trials by the Presbytery, and fully a year, even upon the most expeditious procedure, before he could be licensed to preach the gospel, his father resolved upon sending him, in winter 1812, to the College of Edinburgh, where his time was devoted to some additional studies which could not be had at St Andrew's. At the same time, however, as the infirmities of age were now beginning seriously to affect the health of his father, no time was lost in following the usual course of examination and trial, previous to his being empowered to exercise the functions of the holy ministry, before the Presbytery of Auchterarder. During the winter of 1812, and spring of 1813, every preparatory step prescribed by law was gone through ; and on the 4th of May of the latter
he was admitted as a probationer of the
Church, and licensed to preach the gos. pel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The fruits of his long course of study were now to be reaped,—the hopes of his aged parent, and of all his friends, were now to be realized. Nor were they disappointed. The display of talent and knowledge in his composition, the energy of his address, and the distinctness of his utterance, gratified the most ardent expectation. The reception he met with, not merely in his own district, where partiality might influence, but in all places, and from every class of hearers, was indeed flattering. These early marks of public approbation, so far from lessening his exertions, or deadening his ardour, to render his knowledge more extensive and his qualifications more use: ful, by those feelings of self-complacency and vanity to which human nature at that age
and in these circumstances is so prone,
rather tended to encourage and stimulate him in the exercise of all those means, whereby, under the divine blessing, his natural endowments and his acquired improvements might conduce to farther usefulness.
From the time of his being licensed, much of the public duty of the parish devolved upon him. The weakness of age, hastened by slow consuming distress, had nearly rendered his father unfit for the arduous service of the pulpit. This his son directly supplied. Nor is this to be supposed an easy task. In that part of Scotland it is customary, in the forenoon of each Sabbath, to give two discourses, and in the afternoon one discourse, during the summer half of the year. This must have presented to one so recently licensed, difficulties of no ordinary kind, and enforced a most rigid application to study. These labours were, under a gracious Providence, softened and made delightful by the pleasing reflection, that he was thereby rendering more easy and tranquil the last days of a beloved parent; and also, that in their performance he was so acceptable to all ranks of people in the parish.
The parishioners, experiencing so much good from the ability and zeal with which he officiated amongst them, attached to him, not merely as one filling up the line of pastors, under whose ministrations they
and their forefathers had with satisfaction and improvement sat, but as one who from infancy had been brought up amongst them, and kindly mingled in all their joys and sorrows, were most anxious for his appiontment as helper and successor to his father. This expression of their approbation and attachment was most gratifying to his parent; and though he never saw it realized, yet it was a source of pleasing recollection, and of flattering expectation under his increasing infirmities, and the approaching prospect of dissolution. This desire, on the part of the parishioners, was communicated to the patron, the Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Kinnoul, who, without directly refusing the request, declined compliance, upon the ground of never making any appointment during the lifetime of an incumbent.
Mr A. Ramsay steadily continued in the discharge of every duty, which, as a probationer of the Church, he was empowered to perform, during the remainder of his father's life, a period of three years and five months from the time he was licensed. This most able and zealous
minister of the Church of Christ, most affectionate parent,--and upright member of society, at length terminated his useful life, on the 1st of October 1816, with all the tranquillity and firmness of mind, assurance of faith, and elevation of hope, which only a believer in the Lord Jesus can feel.
It was on this mournful occasion, and during this trying situation of his affairs, that the excellence of Mr Ramsay's character, the tenderness of his affections, and the general steadiness of his whole conduct became more apparent.
He was now the last male person of a long established and respectable family, and the sole stay and support of an only sister. The circumstances in which a Minister of the Church of Scotland leaves his family are rarely opulent. During his incumbency, his means are sufficient to support with decent respectability the dignity of his office, and to give a good and liberal education to his children ; but when both are consulted, there is seldom a large remainder. In such a situation, thrown out of regular employment, and with means so exceedingly limited, and