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The Scottish Nation

BELFRAGE, HENRY, D.D., an eminent clergyman of the Secession, and author of several esteemed religious works, fourth son of the Rev. John Belfrage, minister of the first Associate Congregation, Falkirk, was born there March 24, 1774. He was early intended for the ministry, and received the rudiments of his education at the parish school of his native town. In November 1786 he was sent to the university of Edinburgh, where he distinguished himself by his diligence and application. He afterwards studied divinity at the theological seminary of the Associate Synod, under the able tuition of Professor Lawson of Selkirk. In July 1793 he was licensed to the ministry by the Associate Presbytery of Stirling and Falkirk, and on 31st August following he received from his father’s congregation a most harmonious call to be assistant and successor. He also received a call from Saltcoats and Lochwinnoch, but was ordained to Falkirk, June 18, 1794, when he was little more than twenty years of age. He was his father’s colleague for four years. His congregation was large, and scattered over a considerable extent of country, yet every year he paid a pastoral visit to every member of it, and also had regular diets of catechising. He was likewise very punctual in attending the Secession Church courts. He regularly visited the sick, and was always ready to assist the poor. On his father’s death he inherited the estate of Colliston in Kinross-shire, and for forty-one years he held the ministerial office in the Secession Church at Falkirk. In the spring of 1802 his character as an eloquent and useful preacher being established, he was induced to visit London, to supply for a short time a congregation, then vacant, which met in Miles Lane, when he gave great satisfaction to all who heard him. In 1814 he commenced that series of devotional and practical publications which entitle him to an honourable place in the list of religious writers, and which, in a collected form, amount to 12 volumes. His first work, published that year, consisted wholly of Sacramental Addresses. In 1817 he published ‘Practical Discourses, intended to promote the Happiness and Improvement of the Young.’ In 1818 he published a ‘Practical Catechism,’ with an address to children, and some prayers; in 1821, a second volume of Sacramental Addresses; in 1822, ‘Sketches of Life and Character fro Scripture and from Observation;’ in 1823, his ‘Monitor to Families, or Discourses on some of the Duties and Scenes of Domestic Life;’ also ‘A Guide to the Lord’s Table.’ His writings procured for him, in 1824, from the university of St. Andrews, the degree of D.D.; principally on the recommendation of Sir Henry Moncrieff Wellwood, Bart., D.D., one of the ministers of Edinburgh. In June 1825 he again visited London, being invited to preach before the London Missionary Society. In 1827 he published a series of Discourses ‘On the Duties and Consolations of the Aged.’ In September 1828 he married Margaret, youngest daughter of Richard Gardner, Esq., comptroller of customs, Edinburgh. In 1829 appeared his ‘Counsels for the Sanctuary, and for Civil Life,’ which concluded the author’s series of illustrations of Christian morality. In 1830 he published an Illustration of the History and Doctrine of John the Baptist. In 1832 appeared his ‘Practical Exposition of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism;’ and the same year a volume of ‘Select Essays,’ religious and moral. Among his other publications may be mentioned the Life of Dr. Waugh of London, which went through several editions. Besides those named, he contributed a great number of Essays and Reviews to the Evangelical Magazine and other periodicals. He died September 16, 1835. His Life and Correspondence, compiled by the Rev. John M’Kerrow and the Rev. John Macfarlane, appeared in 1837. Subjoined is a list of Dr. Belfrage’s works:

      Sacramental Addresses and Meditations. 1st vol. published in 1814.

      Practical Discourses, intended to promote the Happiness and Improvement of the Young. 1817.

      A Practical Catechism, intended to exhibit the leading facts and principles of Christianity,  in connexion with their moral influence; to which is added an Address to Children, and some prayers to guide the Devotions of the Young. 1818.

      Sacramental Addresses and Meditations; with a few Sermons interspersed. 2d vol. published in 1821.

      A Funeral Sermon, entitled ‘The Feelings excited by Departed Worth:’ preached to Queen Anne-street congregation, Dunfermline, at the death of the Rev. Dr. Husband. The text is 2 Kings ii. 12. Published in 1821.

      Sketches of Life and Character, from Scripture and from Observation. 1822.

      Monitor to Families, or Discourses on some of the Duties and Scenes of domestic life. 1823.

      A Guide to the Lord’s Table, in the Catechetical form. To which is added an Address to applicants for admission, and some meditations to aid their devotions. 1823.

      A Sermon preached before the London Missionary Society, on the 11th May, 1825. The text is Isaiah ix. 6.

      Discourses on the Duties and Consolations of the Aged. Published in 1827.

      Counsels for the Sanctuary and for Civil Life. 1829.

      Memoirs of the Rev. Dr. Waugh, of Well-street, London. This is a joint production of Dr. Belfrage and of his friend the Rev. James Hay, D.D. of Kinross. The first edition made its appearance in 1830

      A Portrait of John the Baptist; or an Illustration of his History and Doctrine. 1830.

      Practical Exposition of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism. The first edition was published in 1832, in one volume. a second edition, considerably enlarged, was published in 1834, in two volumes. This is a work on which the author bestowed considerable pains. It is replete with sound views of Scripture truth, expressed in a pleasing form.

      Select Essays on various topics, Religious and Moral. 1832.

      A Biographical account of the Rev. Dr. Lawson; prefixed to a volume of the Doctor’s discourses, ‘On the History of David,’ &c. Published in 1833.

      In addition to the above, there were found among his manuscripts, at the period of his death, two volumes of Lectures, in a state of complete readiness for the press, which it was his intention to publish, but increasing debility prevented him from carrying his intention into effect. There were also two small volumes, which he had prepared at the request of one of his publishers; the one being a series of discourses on the parable of the Ten Virgins, and having for its title, ‘The Visible Church in the Last Days,’ the other consisting of discourses on the promises, and entitled, “Christian Instruction in Hope, in Warning, and in Example.’

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