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Rev. ANDREW RAMSAY.
The young man, of whose talents and exertions in the discharge of the duties of the ministerial office, the following Discourses are necessarily an imperfect specimen, was the only son of the late Reverend James Ramsay, Minister of the parish of Maderty, in the presbytery of Auchterarder, Perthshire, and of Julia Wright, daughter of the late Reverend Mr Wright, Minister of the parish of Newburgh, Fifeshire. He was the second child of a family, consisting of three, and was born on the 30th August 1791. Two generations had witnessed a succession of able and zealous teachers of the gospel from the same family; and his parents were anxious, from the commencement of arrangements for his profession in life, that in him, if it should please God to extend his life to a period of usefulness, the same line should be continued. These prospective plans were seconded by the inclinations of their son, who early formed the resolution, from which he at no time deviated, of devoting himself to the spiritual service of that God, by whose love, evinced to mankind in the Lord Jesus, the souls of believers are saved ; and of that Church of Christ, of which his father and grandfather had been such respectable ministers. Of course, every step was, as he progressively advanced to maturity, successively taken, to qualify him, under divine grace, for the performance of the important obligations and duties which are embraced under the clerical profession.
The elementary part of his education was conducted, under the eye of his father, at the parochial school, where a competent portion of classical knowledge preparatory to, and requisite for his attendance at College was attained; and there his attention and diligence afforded a favourable omen of the progress, which, with more mature faculties, might be anticipated. A vacancy having occurred in a bursary, to which persons of the name of Ramsay had, in the original destination of the fund, a prior claim, and being by the application of friends secured to him, he was, at the early age of twelve, entered, in October 1803, a student of the Old or Philosophy College of St Andrew's. This bursary had the superior advantage of lasting during a course of philosophy and of divinity, which usually consists of four years each. During the winters of 1803, 1804, 1805 and 1806, he pursued the studies of the ancient languages, mathematics and philosophy, with the high approbation of the various professors, of which their certificates of attendance and character bore ample testimony. From the early age at which he went to College, having, after going through the regular course of education, a year to spare at its conclusion, before, by the regulations of the Church of Scotland, he could be admitted to probationary trials, his father judged it expedient,
in the session of 1807, that he should retrace the higher branches of study thro' which he had already passed, while, at the same time, without enrolment, he gave attendance
the lectures on theology, delivered in the New, or Mary's College of St Andrew's. In winter 1808, he was enrolled a student of divinity; and during that session, and those of 1809-10-11, he steadily persevered, under the tuition of the late Dr George Hill, who was then Principal and first lecturer on divinity, and the other able Professors who then had charge of the different departments of education in that University, to follow out his preparatory studies for the ministry; and at their termination, brought home to his aged parent, (his mother and elder sister by this time being dead,) the most favourable testimonials of ability, exertion, and success.
In the private society of St Andrew's, he was held in general estimation. The vivacity and frankness of his manners, the warmth of his feelings, and the uniform propriety of his conduct, made him a favourite with every family; and there he laid the foundation of a close and intimate friendship