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The Scottish Nation
Bain or Baine


BAIN, a surname derived from the Gaelic word bane, signifying white, or of a fair complexion, as Donald Bane, who usurped the Scottish throne after the death of his brother Malcolm Canmore. The name is sometimes spelled Baine, as in the following instance, and sometimes Bayne, as in that of Bayne, Alexander, the first professor of Scots Law in the university of Edinburgh, the subject of a subsequent notice.

BAINE, JAMES A.M., an eminent minister of the Relief communion, and one of the fathers of that church, was the son of the minister of Bonhill, Dumbartonshire, where he was born in the year 1710. He received the first part of his education at the parish school, and afterwards studied for the church at the university of Glasgow. Having been licensed to preach, he was presented by the duke of Montrose to the church of Killearn, the adjoining parish to Bonhill. In 1756 he became one of the ministers of the High church of Paisley, and in the following year he had the celebrated Dr. Witherspoon for his colleague. He was intimate with many of the most distinguished clergymen in the Church of Scotland, and so early as 1745 his name is mentioned as having been warmly engaged among his parishioners in Killearn, in promoting a remarkable revival of religion in the west of Scotland at that period. While he remained a minister of the Established church, he was a zealous defender of her liberty, independence, and legal rights, and a determined opponent of what he considered ecclesiastical tyranny. The conduct of the General Assembly in 1752 in deposing the Rv. Thomas Gillespie of Carnock, from the office of the ministry, as well as some more recent proceedings, in his estimation infringed on the cause of religious liberty, and had a powerful influence in inducing him to resign his pastoral charge at Paisley. To this he was also led by the following circumstance: The office of session clerk of the parish having become vacant, a dispute occurred as to whether the kirk session or the town council had the right of appointment. The case came to be litigated in the court of session, and was finally decided in favour of the town council. Mr. Baine took the part of the kirk session, his colleague of the members of the town council; which caused a painful misunderstanding between them. He therefore came to the resolution of resigning his charge, which he did in a letter to the presbytery of date 10th February 1766, and in consequence was cited to appear before the General Assembly 29th May of that year. Having appeared at the bar of the Assembly, and been heard at considerable length in an elaborate and able defence, he was declared by the venerable court to be no longer a minister of the Church of Scotland. Immediately after his deposition Mr. Baine published a pamphlet entitled ‘Memoirs of modern Church Reformation, or the History of the General Assembly, 1766, with a brief account and vindication of the Presbytery of Relief.’ The publication consisted of letters to a reverend friend, in which he gave an amusing account of the procedure of the supreme ecclesiastical court in his case, and indulged in some acrimonious remarks on the conduct of the leading moderates. The pamphlet is now scarce. He had in the meantime accepted of a charge under the Relief body, then recently formed, and on the 13th February 1766, he was inducted by the Rev. Mr. Gillespie, late of Carnock, as the minister of College Street chapel, which was the first church opened in Edinburgh in connection with the Relief presbytery. Previous to his deposition by the Established church he is said, after his admission to South College Street chapel, to have conducted his new congregation to the neighbouring church of Old Greyfriars, at that time under the pastoral care of Dr. Erskine, in order to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper.

      Mr. Baine had always distinguished himself by testifying against whatever he considered to be a violation of public morality. Before he left Paisley he published a sermon preached before the Society for the Reformation of Manners in that town, instituted under his auspices, in which he declared, in strong terms, against the prevailing vices of the age. In 1770 he published a sermon, entitled ‘The Theatre Licentious and Perverted,’ which he had preached against Foote’s play of ‘The Minor,’ then acted at Edinburgh, in which the characters of White-field and other zealous ministers, and even religion itself, was most unjustly and profanely ridiculed. To this attack Foote replied in 1771 in ‘An Apology for the Minor, in a Letter to the Rev. Mr Baine.’ In 1777 Mr. Baine published a volume of sermons, among which is one on the subject of the Pastoral Care, delivered in the Low church of Paisley at the admission of his colleague in June 1757. Mr. Baine died January 17, 1790, in the 80th year of his age. He had married the only daughter of Dr. Michael Potter, of Easter Livelands, Stirlingshire, professor of divinity in Glasgow university, and son of Michael Potter, one of the martyrs of the Bass. His eldest son, Captain Michael Bain, died a detenu in France. His second son, the Rev. James Bain, a probationer of the Established church of Scotland, receiving episcopal ordination, was appointed a chaplain in one of the colonies. The third son, Lieutenant-colonel William Bain of Easter Live-lands, served abroad during the American and Continental wars. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Edwin Sandys Bain of Easter Livelands, sergeant at law. A volume of Mr. Baine’s sermons was published nearly fifty years after his death. His talents and attainments were of a high order; and his voice was so musical that, while minister at Killearn, he was popularly known by the name of "the Swan of the West."


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