Letters between John Wylie and James Hog, 1719.

Scope and Content

Correspondence between John Wylie, minister at Clackmannan, and James Hog, minister at Carnock.

Two autograph letters signed, and two transcripts of letters from John Wylie to James Hog.Signed Jo: Wylie.Clackmannan, February 1719.

Two autograph letters, signed, James Hog to John Wylie.Signed Ja: HogCarnock, February 1719.

The correspondence concerns The Marrow of Modern Divinity [reprinted edition of 1718], together with anonymous marginal annotations. Comments on Hog's previous missive entitled A vindication of the doctrine of grace from the charge of Antinomianism.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Wylie (1654-1728), gained his MA from St Andrews University in 1677, then taught at Perth Grammnar School. He demitted in 1682 in protest againt the Test Act. He was finally licensed by Kirkcaldy presbytery in 1695 and then appointed minister of Saline. Five years later he transferred to Clackmannan.

James Hog (1658-1734), gained his MA at Edinburgh University in 1677, butbecause of the persecution suffered by his father as a covenanting minister, he left for the Netherlands and continued his studies in divinity at Utrecht. He returned home after the revolution of 1688, was licensed by Edinburgh presbytery and ordained into his first charge of Dalserf, Lanarkshire, in 1691. He opposed the interference of lay powers in the affairs of the church and found himself unable to take the oath of allegiance in 1693, and again refused to take the oaths when elected a member of the General Assemby in 1695; the Lord High Commissioner would not allow him to take his seat. His controversial views led to a rift with his parishioners and he demitted his charge in 1697. However he was called to the more sympathetic parish of Carnock near Dunfermline 2 years later. He applied unsuccessfully for the chair of divinity at Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1711, and then dedicated himself to writing tracts in defence of the covenantering traditions which he thought should dictate the observances of the Church of Scotland. He was instrumental in the re-publication of Edward Fisher's Marrow of Modern Divinity in 1718, which put forth the offer of salvation through God's grace, and oppose perceived Arminian practices in the church. He conducted a spirited pamphlet war against James Hadow, one of the main opponents of the Marrow, including A Vindication of the Doctrine of Grace from the charge of Antinomianism, which was published in the same year as the Marrow, and A letter to a Gentleman in 1719. He was one of 12 ministers, known as the Marrow Men, who protested against the action of the General Assembly in 1720 in condemning the book for its alleged antinomian tendencies.

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.H2: James Hadow, observations on The marrow of modern divinity, 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 ms5142

Other Finding Aids

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

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper:12 sheets 36x23.7cm approx, 3 sheets 31x19cm approx folded and stitched. Final folio damaged and repaired.

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.H2: James Hadow, observations on The Marrow of Modern Divinity, 1719.