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Robert Blair

Mr Blair was born at Irvine, in 1593. He was educated at Glasgow, and, having completed his studies, was appointed a regent in the university. In 1616, he was licensed to preach, and though he had several charges offered to him in Scotland, accepted a call to become minister of Bangor, in Ireland. In that country his labours were remarkably blessed. But being at length ejected from his living by the Bishop of Down, he returned about the year 1638, and was admitted minister of Ayr, and next year was transported to St. Andrews. He now took a prominent share in the public acts of the church; and in 1646, was sent as a commissioner from the Assembly to the king at Newcastle, along with Mr Henderson and others, and, on the death of that Worthy, became king's chaplain in his stead. In 1648, too, he, with two others, was sent to treat with Cromwell anent uniformity of religion in the three kingdoms; and after the restoration, in 1660, he suffered the award then so frequently bestowed on merit such as his, by being harassed with repeated citations and imprisonments, and afterwards turned out of his charge.

Being worn out with age, and his spirits sunk by sorrow and grief for the desolations of the Lord's sanctuary in Scotland, Mr Blair, upon the 10th of August, 1666, took his last sickness; and ever extolling the good and glorious Master whom he had served, contemplated with serious composure his approaching end. His sickness increasing, he was visited by many friends and acquaintances, whom he strengthened and comforted by his many gracious and edifying words.

At one time, when they told him of some severe acts of council lately made, upon Sharp's instigation, he prayed that the Lord would open his eyes, and give him repentance. And at another time, to Mrs Rutherford, he said, ' I would not exchange conditions with that man, (Though for himself he was now on the bed of languishing, and the other possessed of great riches and revenues) even if all between us were red, gold, and given me to the bargain.' When some ministers asked him, if he had any hopes of deliverance to the people of God? he said he would not take upon him to determine the times and the seasons which the Lord keeps in His own hand, but that it was to him a token for good, that the Lord was casting the prelates out of the affections of all ranks and degrees of people, and even some who were most active in setting them up, were now beginning to loathe them for the pride, falsehood, and covetousness they displayed.

To his wife and children he spoke gravely and affectionately; and, after having blessed them, he admonished them severally as he judged expedient. his son David said to him. ' The best and worst of men have their thoughts and afterthoughts, now, Sir, God having given you time for afterthoughts on your way, we would hear what they are now.' He answered, ' I have again and again thought upon my former ways, and communed with my heart; and as for my public actions and carriage, in reference to the Lord's work, if I were to begin again, I would just do as I have done.' He often repeated the 16th, the 23rd, and once the 71st Psalm, which he used to call his own. About two days before his death, his speech began to fail and he could not be heard or understood; some things, however were not altogether lost; for speaking of some eminent saints then alive, he prayed earnestly that the Lord would bless them, and as evidence of his love to them he desired Mr George Hutcheson, then present to carry his Christian remembrances to them. When Mr Hutcheson went from his bedside, he said to his wife, and others who waited on him, that he rejoiced in suffering as a persecuted minister. ' Is it not which was my delight, and hinder me from doing good to my people and flock, which was my joy and crown of rejoicing, and to chase me from place to place, till I am wasted with heaviness and sorrow for the injuries done to the Lord's prerogative, interest and cause?' What he afterwards said was either forgotten or not understood, and, at length, about four o'clock in the morning, August 27th, 1666, he was gathered to his fathers, by a blessed and happy death, the certain result of a holy life.