Bell, Thomas (1733-1802) (DNB00)

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BELL, THOMAS (1733–1802), divine, was born at Moffat on 24 Dec. 1733, and there attended the parish school. He was sent to the university of Edinburgh while still a mere youth. He completed his secular course and continued his theological at his university. But instead of seeking license from the national church he applied to the 'Presbytery of Relief,' recently founded by Thomas Gillespie. He was licensed in 1767, and in that year was settled as minister of the Relief congregation at Jedburgh as successor to the son of Thomas Boston, of Ettrick. He remained in Jedburgh for ten years, having made for himself a wide local reputation. In 1777 he was translated to a large congregation of the Relief church in Glasgow.

He found sufficient leisure to learn Dutch. The Dutch divines were then held in high repute in Scotland for their evangelical 'soundness in the faith.' The fruits of his new acquisition were seen in various faithful and readable translations from the Dutch. In 1780 he published 'The Standard of the Spirit lifted up against the Enemy coming in like a Flood.' In 1785 appeared his erudite and powerful treatise, 'A Proof of the True and Eternal Godhead of the Lord Jesus Christ.' The Dutch original of Allinga on the 'Satisfaction of Christ' (1790) is improved in his translation. He likewise translated from the Latin 'The Controversies stated in Great Britain under the Unhappy Names of Antinomians and Neonomians.' This was posthumously published, as well as 'A View of the Covenants of Works and Grace,' and 'Sermons on various Important Subjects' (1814). He was father of James Bell, the geographical writer [q. v.] He died at Glasgow on 15 Oct. 1802.

[Struthers's History of Relief Church and Annals of Glasgow; Memorials of Relief Church, Jedburgh; Church Records at Jedburgh and Glasgow.]

A. B. G.