Laidlie, Archibald, Dd
Laidlie, Archibald, D.D., a noted minister of the Reformed (Dutch) Church, was born at Kelso, Scotland, Dec. 4, 1727. After graduating at the University of Edinburgh he was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1759, and became pastor of the Scotch Church in Cusihing, Holland, where he officiated four years, and as a member of the ecclesiastical courts of that country was held in high repute. He there became acquainted with the Dutch Church and language, and was providentially prepared for his ministry in America. The litter controversy concerning the use of the Dutch language in preaching in the Reformed Church of this country was practically settled by the call and acceptance of Dr. Laidlie as pastor of the Collegiate Church of New York.
He was the first minister called to preach ill the English tongue in this denomination. His first sermon was delivered April 15, 1764, from 2Co 5:11. It was two hours long, most carefully prepared, and delivered to an immense audience with great effect in the Middle Dutch Church, which was set apart for his use on a part of each Sabbath day. This event marks a new era in the history of the Reformed Dutch Church, and which Dr. Livingston declared " should have begun a hundred years before." It would have saved the Church a civil lawsuit, a weary ecclesiastical strife, and a century of growth. Trained in the Scotch theology, and warmly devoted to the Dutch Church, Dr. Laidlie's evangelical and powerful ministry resulted in great spiritual blessings. He was a winner of souls. A great revival crowned his ministry. Crowds waited upon his preaching. His pastoral tact and success were remarkable His brief ministry was interrupted during the Revolutionary War, when he retired to Red Hook, and died there in 1778, at the age of fifty-one, a victim of consumption. His memory is held in great esteem. lie was prudent, wise, devout, a peacemaker, and a dauntless herald of the truth. The circumstances of his call, the critical period of his advent, the learning, wisdom, grace, and success of his ministry, have made his name historical in his Church. He left no printed books, but his " works do follow him." It is related that one of his aged parishioners once said to him, soon after he came to New York, "Ah! dominie, we offered up many an earnest prayer in Dutch for your coming among us, and the Lord has heard us in English, and has sent you to us." But his coming illustrated another phase of contradictory human nature in those who had most strenuously insisted upon the retention of the language of the mother country. Some of these very people, offended and baffled by their more sensible co-worshippers, actually left the Dutch Church and joined the Episcopal, saying as they departed, "If we must have English, we will have all English." Among them were the Stuyvesants, Livingstons, and other eminent families of the city, who have ever since been connected with the latter denomination. — Dr. Thos. De Witt, Historical Discourse (1856) Dr. Gunn, Life of Dr. Livingston; Sprague, Ann. of the Amer. Pulpit, vol. ix. (W. J. R.T.)