Sage, John

, a bishop of the old episcopal church of Scotland, a man of great learning and worth, and an able controversial writer in defence of the church to which he belonged, was born in 1652. He was the son of captain Sage, a gentleman of Fifeshire in Scotland, and an officer of merit in lord Duffus’s regiment, who fought on the side of the royalists when Monk stormed Dundee in 1651. Although, like many other royalists, he was scantily rewarded for his services, he was able to give his son a liberal education at school, and at the university of St. Andrew’s, where he took his degree of master of arts in 1672. He passed some years afterwards as schoolmaster of the parishes of Bingry in Fifeshire, and of Tippermoor in Perthshire, and as private tutor to the sons of a gentleman of fortune, whom he attended at school, and accompanied to the university of St. Andrew’s. In 1684, when his pupils left him, he removed from St. Andrew’s, and when uncertain what course to pursue, was recommended to archbishop Rose, who gave him priest’s orders, and advised him to officiate at Glasgow. Here he continued to display his talents till the revolution in 1688, when the presbyterian form of church government was established, and then went to Edinburgh. He preached in this city a while, but refusing to take the oaths of allegiance, was obliged to desist, and found an asylum in the house of sir William Bruce, the sheriff of Kinross, who approved his principles, and admired his virtues. Returning to Edinburgh in 1695, where he appears to have written some defences of the church to which he belonged, he was observed, and obliged again to retire. At length he found a safe retreat with the countess of Callendar, who employed him as chaplain, and tutor to her sons, and afterwards he lived with sir John Steuart of Garntully as chaplain, until Jan. 25, 1705, when | he was consecrated a bishop. In the following year his health began to decay, and after trying the waters of Bath, in 1709, and change of air in other places, without much benefit, he died at Edinburgh June 7, 1711.

Bishop Sage was a man profoundly skilled in all the ancient languages, which gave him an eminent advantage over his adversaries, the most distinguished of whom was Mr. Gilbert Rule, principal of the college of Edinburgh, who, with much zeal, and no mean abilities, was overmatched by the superior learning and historical knowledge of his antagonist. Sage wrote the second and third letters, concerning the persecution of the episcopal clergy in Scotland, which were printed at London, in 1689, the rev. Thomas Morer having written the first, and professor Monro the fourth. 2. “An account of the late establishment of Presbyterian Government by the parliament of Scotland in 1690,” Lond. 1693. 3. “The fundamental charter of Presbytery,' 7 ibid. 1695. 4.” The principles of the Cyprianic age with regard to episcopal power and jurisdiction,“ibid. 1695. 5.A Vindication“of the preceding, ibid. 1701. 6.” Some remarks on a Letter from a gentleman in the city, to a minister in the country, on Mr. David Williamson’s sermon before the General Assembly,“Edin. 1703. 7.A brief examination of some things in Mr. Meldrum’s sermon, preached May 16, 1703, against a toleration to those of the episcopal persuasion,“ibid. 1703. 8.” The reasonableness of a toleration of those of the Episcopal persuasion inquired into purely on church principles,“ibid. 1704. 9.” The Life of Gawin Douglas,“bishop of Dunkeld, prefixed to Ruddiman’s edition ofDouglas’s Virgil,“1710. 10.” An Introduction to Drummond’s History of the Five James’s," Edin. 1711, with notes by Ruddiman, who always spoke highly of Sage as a scholar and companion. 1


Life of Sage, anonymous, but written by Mr. John Gillan, a bishop of the same church, Lond. 1714, 8vo. Chalmers’s Life of Ruddiman, p. 54. Tytier’s Life of Kaimes. Gillan’s Life of Sage is scarce; but an ample abridgment may be seen in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.