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Purves
Purvey
51

public exhortations, preliminary to the minister's discourse. Purves was not an attractive preacher, and his congregations were very small; but he preached thrice every Sunday, and advocated his views with considerable ability through the press. His earlier tracts were printed with his own hand, and he even cast the Hebrew type for them. He advocated in 1790 the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls, and was a strong believer in the millennium and its near approach. His last work, finished just before his death, was a criticism of deism, in reply to Paine. For many years he suffered severely from asthma. Zealous in support of his convictions, he won the respect of opponents; nothing ruffled the cheerful calm of his temper. In the autumn of 1794 he ceased to preach. He died on 1 Feb. 1795 (manuscript records; Holland says 15 Feb.), and was buried in the Calton cemetery. His grave was in a portion of the cemetery removed in the construction of Regent Road. He married, first, Isobel Blair, by whom he had a daughter Elizabeth (1766–1839), married to Hamilton Dunn; secondly, Sarah Brown, by whom he had a daughter Margaret, married to John Crichton; and, thirdly, Lilias Scott, by whom he had a daughter Mary, who married, in 1801, William Paul, and settled in Boston, Massachusetts. His widow kept a bookseller's shop in St. Patrick's Square, Edinburgh, and subsequently removed to America. His congregation was without a minister till the appointment (November 1812) of Thomas Southwood Smith, M.D. [q. v.]; it now meets in St. Mark's Chapel, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh.

Purves published:

  1. ‘A Short Abstract of the Principles … of the United Societies in Scotland. … By the said Societies,’ &c., no place or printer 1771, 12mo.
  2. ‘An Inquiry into the Institution and End of Civil Government,’ &c., no place or printer, 1775, 12mo.
  3. ‘Observations on Prophetic Time and Similitudes,’ &c., Edinburgh, pt. i. 1777, 16mo; pt. ii. no place, 1778, 16mo.
  4. ‘Observations on the Conduct of … the Reformed Presbytery,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1778, 8vo; this includes ‘A Short Letter to Mr. Fairly’ (24 April 1772), ‘An Extract from a Letter to Mr. Thorburn’ (July 1777), and ‘A Copy of the Letter sent to Mr. John M'Millan’ (24 Oct. 1777, by Alexander Forton).
  5. ‘The Original Text and a Translation of the Forty-sixth Psalm, with Annotations,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1779, 16mo.
  6. ‘A Hebrew Grammar without Points,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1779, 16mo (meanly printed, but a superior piece of work, and shows teaching power).
  7. ‘An Essay toward a … Translation of some parts of the Hebrew Scriptures,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1780, 16mo (anon.; three numbers issued).
  8. ‘An Humble Attempt to investigate … the Scripture Doctrine concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,’ &c., 2nd edit. Edinburgh and London, 1784, 12mo.
  9. ‘Eight Letters between the Buchanites and a Teacher near Edinburgh,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1785, 8vo.
  10. ‘A Scheme of the Lives of the Patriarchs,’ 1785 (not seen).
  11. ‘Concise Catechism with Scripture Answers,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1787, 12mo (anon.).
  12. ‘An Humble Enquiry into Faith and Regeneration,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1788, 12mo.
  13. ‘A Dissertation on the Seals, the Trumpets, and the Vials … in the Book of Revelation,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1788, 16mo.
  14. ‘A Letter to Mr. John Dick,’ &c., Berwick, 1788, 16mo (anon.; criticises a sermon by John Dick, D.D. [q. v.], on the case of William M'Gill, D.D. [q. v.]).
  15. ‘Observations on the Visions of the Apostle John,’ &c., Edinburgh, vol. i. 1789, 16mo (maps); vol. ii. 1793, 16mo (plans).
  16. ‘Some Observations on Socinian Arguments,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1790, 12mo.
  17. ‘A Treatise on Civil Government,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1791, 12mo (quite distinct from No. 2, and dealing with the politics of the day in a spirit of strong sympathy with the French revolution; hence the writer's name is given on the title-page in the disguised form ‘Sevrup Semaj’).
  18. ‘A Declaration of the Religious Opinions of the Universalist Dissenters,’ Edinburgh, 1792, 12mo.
  19. ‘A Short Representation of Religious Principles,’ &c. [1793?], 12mo.

Posthumous were:

  1. ‘A Review of the Age of Reason,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1795, 12mo, pt. i. (the second part was never written).
  2. ‘An Enquiry concerning … Sacrifices … added, A Letter to T. F. Palmer, B.D., on the State of the Dead,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1797, 12mo.

Interspersed among his writings are some religious poems and hymns, of no special merit.

[Monthly Repository, 1812, pp. 348 seq. (communication by R. W., i.e. Richard Wright); Memoir (partly autobiographical) by T. C. H. (i.e. Thomas Crompton Holland) in Monthly Repository, 1820, pp. 77 seq.; Nonsubscriber, February 1862, pp. 17 seq. (article by R. B. D., i.e. Robert Blackley Drummond); Extracts from manuscript records of St. Mark's, Edinburgh, per the Rev. R. B. Drummond; information from Hamilton Dunn, esq., Liverpool.]

A. G.

PURVEY, JOHN (1353?–1428?), the reviser of the Wiclifite translation of the bible, is described in the ‘letters demissory’ of John Bokyngham [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, 13 March 1377, as of ‘Lathebury.’ Lathbury is a village about one mile north of Newport