Barclay, John (2)

Barclay, John founder of the "Bereans" (q. v ), was born at Muthill, Perthshire, Scotland. in 1734, and studied at St. Andrews, where he graduated A.M. In 1759 he was licensed by the presbytery of Auchterarder, and became assistant minister of Errol, and in 1763 assistant minister of Fettercairn in Forfarshire. Here he began to act the religious leader, and attracted crowds of hearers by his novelties of doctrine. In 1766 he published a Paraphrase of the Book of Psalms, with a dissertation on interpretation, which was censured by the presbytery. On the death of the clergyman to whom he was assistant in 1772, the presbytery refused him the necessary testimonials for accepting a benefice elsewhere, and he then left the Church of Scotland, and became the leader of the sect called Bereans, of which a few congregations still exist. He preached for some time in Edinburgh, and subsequently in London and Bristol. In London he kept open a debating society, where he supported his doctrines against all impugners. He. died on the 29th of July, 1798. SEE BEREANS.

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