enters the gate, and the people stood about or sat on the through-stanes or on "chairs an'stools." The communion itself ("the Sacrament"), and the services specially connected with it,were held in the Crypt, but the tent was used for simultaneous overflow services of sermons,addresses, prayer, and praise. The whole work of the day, in the Crypt and at the tent - including "Action Sermon,""Debarrings" (or "Fencing of the Tables"), "Table Addresses" before and after each Table,singing between each two Tables, "Evening Directions," Evening Sermon - lasted from nine inthe morning till nine at night without a break. As these Sunday services were preceded by twofull services on the Thursday, a service on the Friday evening for young communicants and aservice on the Saturday afternoon of two sermons and the address oddly known as"pirliecuing," and were followed on the Monday by one or, it might be, two sermons at onediet, it is easy to see how the Scottish Retraite was called "the Preachings".Only two verses were sung between each two Tables, but they took up a great deal of time inthe Old Barony, where "reading the line" still prevailed, and old Ebenezer slowly read out eachline before singing it. The Psalm sung was the 103rd or the 22nd (to Coleshill). At a later period, when the prejudiceagainst paraphrases had given way, they sang (to Rockingham) the beautiful 35th paraphrase- "'Twas on that night, when doomed to know" (really a translation of the Latin hymn Nocte quaChristus).After a survey, at one time ordered, of the Old Barony, the surveyor reported that "very littlelight came from the pulpit." In one sense this was certainly not true. Dr. Burns was one of thefew who held up the torch of truth in those dark days - a pious and faithful pastor, diligent inhis congregation proper and in the outlying parts of his scattered parish, and ready, almostalone in the Presbytery, to help in such good works as the Anti-Slavery Society, the BibleSociety and Foreign Missions; and he was before Raikes of Gloucester in establishing Sundayschools.Dr. Burns had nine children, of whom (besides James, George and Elizabeth wife of DavidMacBrayne and mother of John, Robert and David MacBrayne, all well-known citizens) were John Burns, M.D. (long one of our leading practitioners, first Professor of Surgery in ourUniversity, and author of several valued works, medical and religious, born 1775, drowned inthe "Orion" 18th June, 1850), and Allan Burns, M.D. (a surgeon of brilliant promise, born 1781,died 1813, from a puncture got in dissecting). George Burns, seventh son, and youngest andsole survivor of the nine children, was born 10th December, 1795, and was trained under good John Wright in the New Lanark Mills Office in St. Andrew Square.
was born in the "Holy Land," on 25th June, 1789. The "Holy Land" was a land ortenement of houses still standing on north side of George Street, a little west of North PortlandStreet, now Nos. 120-124. It got its name from the number of ministers living in it - Dr. Burns of the Barony, Dr. Balfour of the outer High, Harry Mushet of Shettleston, Johnny Macleod of theChapel of Ease, and his colleague, Mr. Williamson. Dr. Burns had previously lived (Directory,1789) "second flat, New Castlepennis Land, east side High Street," nearly opposite OldGrammar School Wynd.After the usual education at the Grammar School and the College James Burns went intobusiness, and was for some time a partner with John Duncan, afterwards called of North Bar. This partnership was dissolved, and he and his younger brother George formed the firm of James & George Burns. Of this firm, which is now extinct and of the still existing firm of George& James Burns, an account will be found below.3