Mckinney, James

McKinney, James a Reformed Presbyterian minister, was born in Cookstown, Tyrone County, Ireland, in 1759. After due preparation he entered Glasgow College, where he distinguished himself by close application to study and a display of unusual talents. His next step was to study medicine, but, called of God to preach the Gospel, he finally entered upon the study of theology, was licensed in due time, and constituted pastor of a congregation at Kirkhills, Antrim County, about 1780. In 1793 he emigrated to this country, and was immediately employed as missionary, Four years later he became the pastor of a Reformed Presbyterian Church at Galway and Duanesburg, N. Y., and there he remained until 1804, when he accepted a call to a Church at Chester County, S. C. He went south in May, but lived only a few months; he died Sept. 10, 1804. Dr. McMasters thus comments upon McKinney (in Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 9:2): "Of the character of Mr. McKinney as a preacher, and of the power of his eloquence, the very large assemblies that everywhere attended his ministry, and the uniform testimony of all well-informed and serious men, of various denominations. leave no room for doubt... . One feature of his ministerial character may perhaps be inferred from the plan of a work which he proposed to publish, the introductory portion of which only he lived to complete. The proposal was a discussion of the Rights of God, the Rights of Christ as Mediator, the Rights of the Church, and the Rights of Humanity in general. Taking the part he published as a specimen of the whole, the reader will regret the failure of the purpose. The work would have been worthy of the man — not only sound in matter, but deep in thought and impressive in style." An Irish journal, commenting on the character of James McKinney, says of him: "The character of James McKinney never was exceeded in the boldness of its outline and in the distinctness and prominency of its features. His eloquence was in perfect character. His heart, possessed with the love of the truth as it is in Jesus, was ever set upon its recommendation and enforcement; and it was when descanting upon the grand Gospel theme of a crucified Savior or asserting the Church's rights, or when, with well-sustained pathos, he mourned the wrongs of Zion, that his mind assumed a gigantic attitude, and put forth its wonderful energies. His diction was clear, copious, strong, and full of pertinent and often brilliant figures. He has frequently, in his public discourses, caught a flame from the working of his judgment, imagination, and feelings; and then his conceptions, conveyed in simple, energetic language, or in bright imagery, and in bold and apt allusions, produced an astonishing effect. In America, whose republican institutions he had long loved, the land of enterprise and freedom, was the field which just suited the genius of McKinney; there his powers had full scope for development and exercise."

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