John Brown ~ Minister, Professor of Theology,

Scotch Burgher minister; born at Carpow, near Abernethy (on the Firth of Tay, 6 m. south east, of Perth), Perthshire, 1722; died at Haddington (12 miles east of Edinburgh) June 19, 1787. He was poor and self-taught, but acquired no small amount of learning; was a herd-boy, peddler, soldier, and school-teacher; studied theology under Ebenezer Erskine and James Fisher of Glasgow; was licensed in 1750, and in 1751 settled as pastor of the Burgher branch of the Secession Church of Haddington, where he remained till his death, declining a call as Professor of Divinity in Queen’s College, N. J. After 1768 he was Professor of Theology to the Associate Synod. His yearly income from his church never exceeded £50, and his professorship had no salary; nevertheless he brought up a large family, gave freely in charity, and wrote books (which brought him no pecuniary profit) not only popular but valuable. They include: Two Short Catechisms Mutually Connected (Edinburgh, 1764); A Dictionary of the Bible (2 vols., 1769; revised ed., 1868); The Self-interpreting Bible (2 vols., 1778; often reprinted); and A Compendious History of the Church of England and of the Protestant Churches in Ireland and America (2 vols., Glasgow, 1784; new edition by Thomas Brown, Edinburgh, 1823). Sketches of his life are prefixed to various editions of his works; the best is that by his son, prefixed to his Select Remains, ed. his Sons, J. and E. Brown, this edited by W. Brown, Edinburgh, 1856. Consult also DNB, vii. 12-14.