Forbes, John (of Corse), son of Patrick Forbes, was born May 2, 1593. After studying at Heidelberg and Sedan, he was appointed professor of divinity in King's College, Aberdeen, in 1619. In the great struggle in Scotland between Presbyterianism and prelacy, he favored Episcopacy, but sought to be a peacemaker, publishing Irenicum Amatoribus Veritatis et Pacts in Ecclesia Scotiana (Aberdeen, 1629). In 1638 he published, A peaceable Warning to the Subjects in Scotland. Refusing to sign the Solemn League and Covenant, he was, deprived of his benefice in 1640. His case was one of peculiar hardship, for he had made over part of his own private property to be attached to the professorship which he held, and he lost this property on being dismissed from his office. In 1642 he went to Holland, married there and remained three years. Returning to Scotland, he spent the remainder of his life on his estate at Corse, and died April 20, 1648. His reputation chiefly rests upon his great work Instructiones Historico-Theologicae de doctrina Christiana et vario rerum statu, ortisque erroribus et controversiis (Amnst. 1645, fol.; Geneva, 1680, fol.; abridged by Arnold Montanus (Amst. 1663, 8vo). His collected works were published under the title Joannis Forbesii a Corse Opera Omnia, inter quae plurima
posthuma, with Vita by Dr. Garden (Amst. 1702-3, 2 volumes, fol.). His Instructiones is still a valuable work; its design was to show, in opposition to Bellarmine, the doctrinal agreement between the Reformers and the earlier fathers, sand it formed a precursor of the modern works on the History of Doctrines. Bishop Burnet (Preface to Life of Bedell) says that Forbes of Corse was a man "of much more extensive learning than his father (Patrick Forbes), in which, perhaps, he was excelled by none of that age. Those who shall read his book of Historical and Theological Institutions will not dispute this title with him; for it is so excellent a work, that, if he had been left in quiet, in the retirement he had chosen, to apply himself to his studies, and could have finished it by a second volume, it would, perhaps, have been the most valuable treatise of divinity that has yet appeared in the world." Baur names Forbes and Petavius ,as the two great writers of the 17th century on History of Doctrines. — Encycl. Britannica, 9:776; Niceron, Memoires pour servir, etc. t. xlii; Donaldson, History of Christian Literature, 1:66.