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Famous Scots - John Dick


DICK, JOHN, D.D., an eminent minister of the Secession church, the son of the Rev. Alexander Dick, minister of the Associate congregation of Seceders in Aberdeen, and a daughter of Capt. Tolmie of that city, was born there October 10, 1764. He early gave indication of superior mental endowments, and while at the grammar school of Aberdeen, he carried off from his youthful compeers several prizes. When he had completed his twelfth year he became a student in King’s College, Old Aberdeen, having been the successful candidate for one of the bursaries of the college. In 1780 he entered the Divinity Hall of the Associate Burghers, under Brown of Haddington, and in 1785 he received his license as preacher from the Associate presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline. He soon received calls from Scone, Musselburgh, and Slateford, two miles from Edinburgh, and was ordained minister of the Secession congregation at the latter place, October 26, 1786. During the Old Light controversy, a synod sermon which he preached as moderator, and afterwards published, was made the subject of complaint to the Synod by some of the brethren, who then withdrew from the Secession church.

In 1801 he removed to Glasgow as colleague to the Rev. Alexander Pirie, minister of the Secession congregation Shuttle Street, now Greyfriars, whom he succeeded in 1810. He had twice previously refused a call from the congregation at Aberdeen, to be his father’s successor. In 1815 he received the degree of D.D. from the college of Princetown, New Jersey, America. In 1820 he was chosen professor of theology to the Associate Synod; and in March 1832 succeeded the earl of Glasgow as president of the Auxiliary Bible Society of Glasgow. In the same year he was elected president of the Voluntary Church Association in that city. He died somewhat suddenly January 25th 1833, in the 69th year of his age, and 47th of his ministry. On the 23d he had spoken at a pubic meeting in Glasgow held for the purpose of petitioning the legislature for some enactment concerning the better observance of the Sabbath. On the evening of the same day after returning home from a meeting of his session, he complained of earache; but as this was a complaint to which eh was subject, it created no alarm. He was restless during the night, rose at a late hour next morning, and on the afternoon of the 24th was seized with shivering, when he was obliged to retire to bed. Medical aid was procured, and recourse was had to bleeding, which afforded him a temporary relief.

But he soon after sunk into a stupor, from which he never recovered. The disease was ascertained from a post mortem examination, to have been internal suppuration. His remains were interred in the Necropolis of Glasgow, where a most tasteful monument has been erected over his grave. At the meeting of the United Synod, in the following April, they entered on their record a well-expressed tribute of respect to his memory. Soon after his establishment at Slateford he married Jane, daughter of the Rev. George Coventry of Stitchell, by whom he had a family. As a theological writer, Dr. Dick held a high reputation in the body to which he belonged.

The following is a list of his works: –

The Conduct and Doom of false Teachers; a Sermon from 2 Pet. ii. 1. 1788. The publication of this discourse was occasioned by an Essay which Dr. M’Gill of Ayr had published on the death of Christ, in which Socinian sentiments were openly maintained.

Confessions of Faith shown to be necessary, and the duty of churches with respect to them explained; a Sermon preached at the opening of the Associate Synod, in April 1796, from 2 Tim. i. 23, “Hold fast the form of sound words.” This sermon procured for Dr. Dick considerable obloquy from a small minority who left the Secession Church about that time.

An Essay on the Inspiration of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Edinb. 1800, 12mo. 2d ed. 1804, 8vo. The matter of this work was at first delivered in a series of discourses from the pulpit, but afterwards thrown into a connected form. It has gone through various editions, and is regarded as a standard work in divinity.

A Sermon on the Qualifications and the call of Missionaries, from Acts xiii. 2. Edin. 1801, 8vo.

Lectures on some passages of the Acts of the Apostles. London, 2 vols., 1805-1808, 8vo.

Sermons on Miscellaneous Subjects. Glasgow, 1816, 8vo.

 Lectures on Theology, 4 vols. 1834, 8vo, with a memoir prefixed by one of his sons. Posthumous.


Headstone Photograph

Further Information

Title: REV,

Firstname: John

LastName: Dick

Date of Death: 25th Jan 1883

Age at Death: 69

Cemetery: Glasgow Necropolis

  50 Cathedral Square

Town: Glasgow

PostCode: G4 0UZ

Region: Glasgow and Clyde Valley

Country: Scotland


Please Note, the marker on this map indicates the Cemetery location, not the location of a particular grave. is a privately owned website with no affiliation to any Local Councils.