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Ebenezer Erskine


1680 - 1754

Evangelical divine and founder of the Secession Church of Scotland. Born in Dryburgh (Scottish Borders), the son of a former Minister who had been removed from his charge following the Act of Uniformity (1662), Erskine was educated at the University of Edinburgh. He was ordained at Portmoak (Perth and Kinross) and ministered there for 28 years, proving to be a popular preacher. He supported Thomas Boston (1676 - 1732) and the evangelical work The Marrow of Modern Divinity, which had been condemned by the General Assembly.

He transferred to Stirling in 1731 but continued to speak out against liberalism in the Church and the system of Patronage, which prevented congregations choosing their Minister. In 1733, this led to Erskine's suspension by the General Assembly and he and four others formed an Associated Presbytery which quickly became the Secession Church. This church grew, but was itself divided over the Burgess oath, into the Burghers and Anti-Burghers. Erskine remained with the Burgher majority.

Erskine died in Stirling, having made his mark on the church and fathered fifteen children.


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