In the non-subscription controversy Boyd took a warm part. When the general synod of Ulster in 1721 permitted those of its members to subscribe the Westminster Confession who thought fit, Boyd was one of the signatories He was on the committee of six appointed in 1724 to draw up articles against Thomas Nevin, M.A. (minister of Downpatrick from 1711 to 1744; accused of impugning the deity of Christ), and probably drafted the document. Next year Boyd moved from Macosquin to a congregation nearer Londonderry, anciently known as Taughboyne, subsequently as Monreagh, where he was installed by Deny presbytery on 25 April 1725. The stipend promised was 50l. The congregation had been vacant since the removal of William Gray to Usher's Quay, Dublin, in 1721. In 1727 Gray, without ecclesiastical sanction, came back to Taughboyne and set up an opposition meeting in a disused corn-kiln at St. Johnston, within the bounds of his old congregation. Hence arose defections, recriminations, and the diminution of Boyd's stipend to 40l. The general synod elected him moderator at Dungannon in 1730. The sermon with which he concluded his term of office in the following year at Antrim proves his orthodoxy as a subscriber to the Westminster Confession, and perhaps also proves that the influence of a non-subscribing publication, above ten years old, was by no means spent. It is directed specially against a famous discourse by the non-subscribing minister of the town in which it was delivered, John Abernethy, M.A., whose 'Religious Obedience founded on Personal Persuasion' was preached at Belfast on 9 Dec. 1719, and printed in 1720 [see Abernethy, 1680-1740]. Boyd decides that 'conscience is not the supreme lawgiver,' and that it has no judicial authority except in so far as it administers 'the law of God,' an expression which with him is synonymous with the interpretation of Scripture accepted by his church. In 1734 Boyd was an unsuccessful candidate for the clerkship of the general synod. His zeal for the faith was again shown in 1739, when he took the lead against Richard Aprichard, a probationer of the Armagh presbytery, who had scruples about some points of the Confession, and ultimately withdrew from the synod's jurisdiction. He was one of the ten divines appointed by the synod at Magherafelt on 16 June 1747 to draw up a 'Serious Warning' to be read from the pulpits against dangerous errors 'creeping into our bounds.' These errors were in reference to such doctrines as original sin, the 'satisfaction of Christ,' the Trinity, and the authority of Scripture. The synod, in spite of its 'Serious Warning,' would not entertain a proposal to forbid the growing practice of intercommunion with the non-subscribers. We hear nothing more of Boyd till his death, which occurred at an advanced age on 2 May 1772. He published only 'A Good Conscience a Necessary Qualification of a Gospel Minister. A Sermon (Heb. xiii. 18) preached at Antrim June 15th 1731, at a General Synod of the Protestants of the Presbyterian Persuasion in the North of Ireland,' Derry. 1731, 18mo.
[Witherow's Hist. and Lit. Mem. of Presb. in Ireland, 2nd ser. 1880, p. 1; Armstrong's Appendix to Ordination Service, James Martineau, 1829, p. 102; Manuscript Extracts from Minutes of General Synod.]
BOYD, ZACHARY (1585?–1653), was a descendant of the family of Boyd of Penkill in Ayrshire. He was born about 1585, and was first educated at Kilmarnock, whence he went to Glasgow University in 1601. He also attended the university of St. Andrews from 1603 to 1607, and graduated there as M.A. Subsequently he went over to the protestant college of Saumur, in France, and was offered, but declined, the principalship of that college. He resided in France for sixteen years, and seems to have left it on account of the religious troubles. In 1623 he returned to Scotland, and was appointed minister of the Barony parish in Glasgow.
He died in 1653. The latter part of his life was spent in the management of his parish and of the affairs of the Glasgow University, in which he took a deep interest, and in literary pursuits. Only a part of his writings were printed; some still remain in manuscript in the possession of Glasgow University, to which he left them, along with a money bequest, which not only assisted in providing new buildings, but served to establish some bursaries. His bust, well known to many generations of students, stood in a niche of the quadrangle which was built with his bequest, until a few years ago the university deserted those buildings and moved to its present situation, where the bust is still preserved in the library. Boyd served the offices of dean of faculty, rector, and vice-chancellor in the university during several years. His printed prose works appeared between 1629 and 1650; the printed poetical works between 1640 and 1652. 'The Battell of the Soul in Death' (1629), dedicated to Charles I, and in French to Queen Henrietta Maria, while the second volume contains a dedicatory letter to Elizabeth, queen of Bohemia, on the death of her son Frederick, is a sort of prose manual for the sick. About 1640