Gloag, Paton James (DNB12)

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GLOAG, PATON JAMES (1823–1906), theological writer, born at Perth on 17 May 1823, was eldest son in the family of six children of William Gloag, banker, by his wife Jessie Burn. William Ellis Gloag, Lord Kincairney [q. v. Suppl. II], was a younger brother. His eldest sister, Jessie Burn Gloag, established in Perth one of the first ragged schools in Scotland. After finishing his school training at Perth Academy in 1839, Gloag studied at Edinburgh University (1840–3). Owing mainly to the disruption of 1843 he left Edinburgh and completed at St. Andrews (1843–6) the curriculum preparatory for the ministry of the Church of Scotland.

Licensed a preacher by Perth presbytery on 10 June 1846, Gloag, from 1848 to 1857, was first assistant, and then successor, to Dr. Russell at Dunning, Perthshire, and from 1860 to 1870 was parish minister of Blantyre, Lanarkshire, where he provided a new parish church, and established a savings bank. Meanwhile he published 'A Treatise on Assurance of Salvation' (1853), 'A Treatise on Justification' (1850), 'Primeval World, or Relation of Geology to Theology' (1859), 'The Resurrection' (1862), and 'Practical Christianity' (1866). In 1857, 1862, and 1867 ho visited Germany, where he made friends with Tholuck and other divines, and familiarised himself with German theological literature.

In 1871 he became parish minister of Galashiels, and while there greatly extended his reputation as preacher and author. In 1879 he was Baird lecturer, taking for his subject 'The Messianic Prophecies.' A new church was completed in 1881 to meet the needs of his growing congregation. Although no ardent ecclesiastic, he moved in the general assembly of the Church of Scotland of 1887 for the relaxation of the eldership test. In 1889 he was moderator of the general assembly, and in his closing address he urged the importance of the highest possible culture for the Christian minister. In June 1892 he resigned his parochial charge, devoting himself in Edinburgh to theological research, and finding recreation in the study of numismatics. In 1896–9 he was interim professor of biblical criticism in Aberdeen University. In March 1867 Gloag had received the honorary degree of D.D. from St. Andrews, and he was made LL.D. of Aberdeen in April 1899. In 1897 his ministerial jubilee was celebrated by students and friends. After 1898 his health gradually failed. He died at Edinburgh on 9 Jan. 1906, and was interred in the family burying-ground in Dunning churchyard. The Galashiels parishioners placed a memorial window in St. Paul's Church, Galashiels. On 23 Jan. 1867 Gloag married Elizabeth S. Lang, third daughter of the Rev. Gavin Lang of Glasford. She survived him without issue. While Gloag was moderator the members of his congregation presented him with his portrait in oils, by Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A., which remains in Mrs. Gloag's possession.

Gloag's later theological publications show the influence of German scholarship of the liberal orthodox school. Chiefly valuable for their analytical criticism and exegesis of the New Testament, they give no support to the new higher criticism. The chief of them are: 1. ‘Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles,’ 2 vols. 1870. 2. ‘Introduction to the Pauline Epistles,’ 1874. 3. ‘Commentary on the Epistle of St. James,’ 1883. 4. ‘Exegetical Studies,’ 1884. 5. ‘Introduction to the Catholic Epistles,’ 1887. 6. ‘Commentary on the Thessalonians,’ 1887. 7. ‘Introduction to the Johannine Writings,’ 1891. 8. ‘Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels,’ 1895.

Gloag translated into English Lechler and Gerok's ‘Apostelgeschichte’ in 1865, Meyer's ‘Apostelgeschichte’ in 1887, Lünemann's ‘Thessaloniker’ in 1880, and Huther's ‘St. James and St. Jude’ in 1881. In 1880 he edited, with memoir, a volume of sermons by Dr. Veitch, Edinburgh. He issued as ‘Bible Primers’ a ‘Life of St. Paul’ (1881), and a ‘Life of St. John’ (1892). In 1891 he published ‘Subjects and Mode of Baptism.’

[Mrs. Gloag's Paton J. Gloag, D.D., LL.D., 1908; information from Mrs. Gloag; Life and Work Magazine, July 1889 and February 1906; Scotsman and Glasgow Herald, 10 Jan. 1906; Border Standard, 6 July 1907.]

T. B.