Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brown, John (1610?-1679)

BROWN, JOHN (1610?–1679), of Wamphray, church leader, was probably born at Kirkcudbright; he graduated at the university of Edinburgh 24 July 1630. He was probably not settled till 1655, although he comes first into notice in some highly complimentary references to him in Samuel Rutherford's letters in 1637. In the year 1655 he was ordained minister of the parish of Wamphray in Annandale. For many years he seems to have been quietly engaged in his pastoral duties, in which he must have been very efficient, for his name still lives in the district in affectionate remembrance. After the restoration he was not only compelled by the acts of Parliament of 1662 to leave his charge, but he was one of a few ministers who were arrested and banished, owing to the ability and earnestness with which they had opposed the arbitrary conduct of the king in the atfairs of the church. On 6 Nov. 1662 he was sentenced to be kept a close prisoner in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, his crime being that he had called some ministers ‘false knaves’ for keeping synod with the archbishop. The state ot' the prison causing his health to break down, he was banished 11 Dec. from the king’s dominions, and ordered not to return on pain of death. He went to Holland. In 1676 Charles II urged the States-General to banish him from their country, a step which they refused to take. For a few years he was minister of the Scotch church in Rotterdam, and shortly before his death, which occurred in 1679, he took part in the ordination of Richard Cameron [q. v.]. He was the author of many learned and elaborate works, among which were-‘Apologetical Relation of the Suiferings of Ministers of the Church of Scotland since 1660,’ 1665: ‘Libri duo contra Woltzogenium et Velthusium,’ 1670; ‘De Causà Dei adversus anti-Sabbatarios,’ 2 vols. 4to, 1674-76; ‘Quakerism the Pathway to Paganism,' 1678; ‘An Explanation of the Epistle to the Romans,' 1679; ‘The Life of Justification opened,' 1695. Other treatises were published between 1720 and 1792, and a manuscript history of the church is in the university library at Edinburgh. Of his treatise on justification a writer says: ‘It is by far our most thorough exposition and dismission of the doctrine it handles; and it is all the more to be prized because of the particular bearing it has on the new views which Baxter and others had begun to propagate, and which in some shape are ever returning among ourselves’ (JAmes Walker, D.D., Carnwath, The Theology and Theologians of Scotand).

[Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution: Memoir prefixed to reprint of Apologetical Relation in the Presbyterian Armoury, Vol. iii. Edin. 1846; Scott's Fasti, ii. 663.]

W. G. B.