Dickson, David

, an eminent divine of the church of Scotland, the son of John Dickson, a merchant in Glasgow, was born about 1583, and educated at the university of his native city. After taking the degree of M. A. he was admitted regent, or professor of philosophy, an office which, at that time, somewhat after the manner of the foreign universities, was held only for a term of years (in this case, of eight years) after which these regents received ordination. Accordingly, in 1618, Mr. Dickson was ordained minister of the town of Irvine, which preferment he held about twenty-three years, and became a very popular preacher. Although always inclined to the presbyterian form of church-government, he had shewn no great reluctance to the episcopal forms until the passing of what are known, in the ecclesiastical history of Scotland, by the name of the Perth articles; five articles, which enjoined kneeling at the sacrament; private adtninistratioa of it in extreme sickness; private baptism, if necessary; episcopal confirmation; and the observation of Epiphany, Christmas, &c. These, however harmless they may appear to an English reader, were matters not only of objection, but abhorrence to a great proportion of the Scotch | clergy; and Mr. Dickson having expressed his dislike in strong terms, and probably in the pulpit, was suspended from his pastoral charge, and ordered to remove to Turriff, in the north of Scotland, within twenty days. After much interest, however, had been employed, for he had many friends among persons of rank, who respected his talents and piety, he was allowed in 1623 to return to Irvine. As during the progress of the rebellion in England, the power of the established church decayed also in Scotland, Dickson exerted himself with considerable effect in the restoration of the presbyterian form of church-government, and there being a reluctance to this change on the part of the learned divines of Aberdeen, he went thither in 1637, and held solemn disputations with Doctors Forbes, Barron, Sibbald, &c. of that city, which were afterwards published. In 1641 he was removed from Irvine to be professor of divinity in the university of Glasgow; and in 1643 he assisted in drawing up some of those formularies which are contained in the “Confession of Faith,” a book which is still subscribed by the clergy of Scotland. The “Directory for public worship,” and “The sum of saving knowledge,” were from his pen, assisted, in the former, by Henderson and Calderwood and in the latter, by Durham. Some years after, probably about 1645, he was invited to the elmir of professor of divinity at Edinburgh, which he held until the restoration, when he was ejected for refusing the oath of supremacy. He did not survive this long, dying in 1662. He was esteemed one of the ablest and most useful men of his time, in the promotion of the church of Scotland as now established, and his writings have been accounted standard books with those who adhere to her principles as originally laid down. His principal works are, I. “A Commentary on the Hebrews,” 8vo. 2. “On Matthew,” 4to. 3. “On the Psalms,1655, 3 vols. 12mo. 4. “On the Epistles,” Latin and English, folio and 4to. 5. “Therapeutica Sacra, or Cases of Conscience resolved,” Latin 4to, English 8vo. 6. “A treatise on the Promises,Dublin, 1630, 12mo. Besides these he wrote some pieces of religious poetry for the common people, and left several Mss. As he had had a considerable hand in the “Confession of Faith,” he lectured, when professor of divinity, on that book, the heads of which lectures were afterwards published, as he had delivered them, in Latin, under the title | Prelectiones in Confessionem Fidei,” folio but they have been since translated and often reprinted, under the title of “Truth’s Victory over Error,” one of the most useful, and now, we believe, the only one of his works which continues still popular in Scotland. Prefixed is a life of the author by Woodrow, the ecclesiastical historian, from which we have extracted the above particulars. 1


Life ubi supra.