Napier, Lord John

Napier, Lord John of Merchiston, Scotland, celebrated specially as a mathematician, but noted also as a religious writer, was born in 1550. He studied at the University of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, after which he travelled through France, Italy, and Germany. Upon his return home he applied himself especially to mathematics, in which he secured a great and lasting reputation by his discovery of logarithms. He, however, also devoted some time to the study of theology. His work on the Revelation indicates the most acute investigatiou. It is a most curious and learned work on the Apocalypse, and is entitled A plaine Discovery of the whole Revelation of St. John, set down in two Treatises; whereunto are annexed certain Oracles of Sibylla (5th ed., corrected and amended, Edinb. 1645, 4to). In the dedication he gives some advice to king James on religious matters, and on the propriety of reformation in his own "house, family, and court." It was translated into French, Dutch, and German. Napier was in a certain sense an adventist. He looked for an early consummation of the millennium. The date he believed to be about 1688. Napier died April 3, 1617. See Life, Writings, and Inventions of John Napier, by the Earl of Buchan and Walter Minto (1787); Mark Napier, Memoirs of J. Napier (1834); Chambers, Biog. Dict. of Scotsmen, s.v.; Darling, Cyclop. Bibliog. 2:2152; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Westminster Rev. July 1835.

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