James Hadow, observations on Marrow of Modern Divinity, 1719.

Scope and Content

A commentary by James Hadow on The Marrow of Modern Divinity, by Edward Fisher [reprinted edition, Edinburgh, 1718].

Administrative / Biographical History

James Hadow (1667-1747) was born in Lanakshire but went to study in Utrecht where he met many other figures important in subsequent events in Scotland, almost certainly including his later opponent James Hog. He returned to Scotland around 1688, and was ordained minister of Cupar, Fife. He was appointed as professor of biblical criticism at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews in 1699. He became principal in 1707, a post he held for the next 40 years until his death in 1747. He courted controversy, using anonymous publications to declaim against, amongst others, Archibald Campbell's Pelagianism, deists, Episcopalians, and the Marrow Men. He opposed the appointment of a layman, Alexander Scrimgeour, as master and professor of divinity at St Mary's College in 1713; he demanded the full rights of the rector in 1736 to adjourn university meetings without the consent of the masters, who in turn drafted their own rights not to allow such arbitrary procedure and to continue to sit even if the rector left the chair or tried to dissolve the meeting by prayer, a vice or ex rector taking over. He was the first to alert the Church of Scotland to the threat posed by the re-publication of the Marrow of Modern Divinity in 1718 and conducted a pamphlet war with James Hog in A Review of a Conference betwixt Epaphroditus and Epaphras (1719).

The re-publication in 1718 of the Marrow of Modern Divinty, ascribed to Edward Fisher in 1645, created a controversy within the Church of Scotland between evangelicals, known as Marrow Men, and moderates over the relationship between law and gospel in salvation. The evangelicals such as Thomas Boston, Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine and James Hog held the antinomian view that God offered free salvation by faith alone, freeing Christians from the observance of moral law, a viewpoint made possible by a literal interpretation of the Calvinist doctrine of double predestination. This stance had always been denied by the Church of Scotland, which taught that the Gospel was a 'new law' (neonomos), replacing the Old Testament law, and deceed that repentance of sins was still necessary before salvation could be offered. The church, led by principal James Hadow of St. Andrews, condemned The Marrow of Modern Divinity in 1720 and the evangelicals were formally rebuked at the General Assembly of 1722 but not removed from their ministries. Their writings were influential in the form of popular piety found in Scotland during the following two centuries.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased together with GB 0227 msBT70.W8: Letters between John Wylie and James Hog, 1719, as lot 265 for 3s.6d. at the sale of the library of Dr John Lee, 5 April 1861.


Call number used to be ms5152

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper: 6 sheets, 36x23.5cm, folded and stitched.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.



Related Material

University of St Andrews: GB 0227 msBT70.W8: Letters between John Wylie and James Hog, 1719.