one of the early ministers of the Secession church in Scotland and
leader of the Antiburghers, the ninth son of Mr. John Gib, proprietor of
the estate of Castletown, in the parish of Muckart, Perthshire, was born
there on 7th April, 1714. His father, intending him for the
medical profession, sent him in 1730 to the university of Edinburgh, to
be educated under the superintendence of his uncle, Mr. Gib, surgeon in
that city, Peculiarly attached to mathematical studies, he was a
favourite scholar of the celebrated Professor M’Laurin, father of Lord
Dreghorn, a lord of session. One day as he was walking down the old West
Bow, deeply mediating on a mathematical problem, he found himself in the
midst of a crowd, assembled to witness the execution of a criminal in
the Grassmarket, when the question forced itself upon him mind, “Will
the subject which now so entirely engrosses my attention, prepare me for
eternity?” Resolving from that moment to commence a new course of
conduct, he lived retired that he might not be exposed to temptation,
and writing out rules for his guidance, signed them with his own blood.
Finding himself, however, unable to act up to them. He determined upon
retiring to some desert island, where no temptation could exist to lead
him astray; but the perusal of Luther’s work on the Galatians caused him
to change his design. The introduction to that work, it is supposed,
brought him first to the knowledge of the truth.
resolved to devote himself to the work of the ministry, and having, in
1735, joined the Associate Presbytery, he was by them, on 5th
March 1740, licensed t preach the gospel in the West Kirk of Stirling.
Soon after he received a call from the Seceding congregation of
Edinburgh, and another from that of Stitchell, On the 2d April 1741, he
was ordained minister of the former, and under his powerful and popular
preaching, it soon increased largely in numbers.
rebellion of 1745 he took an active part in support of the government.
He was the means of raising several companies of volunteers among his
own people, for the defence of the capital, and, on its occupation by
the Highland army, he assembled his congregation for public worship at
Dreghorn near Colinton, about three miles west of the city, on which
occasion he preached for five successive Sabbaths in the open air,
showing his loyalty to the government, even in presence of some of the
insurgents, by praying for the reigning sovereign. Shortly afterwards he
accompanied part of his congregation, who had taken up arms in defence
of government, to Falkirk, where, a few hours before the battle of the
17th January, he signalized himself by his zeal in seizing a
rebel spy, and lodging him in prison, from whence in the evening he was
liberated by the Pretender’s army, on marching victoriously into
His father had
been much displeased with him for abandoning the medical profession, and
refused for some time to hear him preach, after he was licensed; but
afterwards, being dissatisfied with the habits of his eldest son, he
disinherited him, and settled the estate of Castletown on the subject of
this notice. When, after his death, his deed of settlement was read, Mr.
Gib asked of his brother, if he would engage to change his mode of life
on condition of the estate being restored to him; and on being answered
in the affirmative, he immediately destroyed the deed by putting it into
the fire in presence of the company assembled on the occasion.
In 1746, when
the memorable schism occurred in the Secession church, respecting the
religious clause in the burgess’ oath, Mr. Gib took a leading part on
the side of those who maintained that the swearing of this clause was
inconsistent with the public profession of Seceders. The Antiburgher
Synod was constituted in his house at Edinburgh, on 10th
April 1747, and his prominent position in the controversy obtained for
him the title of ‘Pope Gib.’ During the last years of his life, he
suffered severely from the gout. He died at Edinburgh on 18th
June 1788, in the 75th year of his age, and 48th
of his ministry, ans was interred in the Greyfriars churchyard of that
city, where an elegant monument was erected to his memory by his
His works are:
A pamphlet in
the controversy concerning Whitfield and the “Cambusland Work.” Edin.
proceedings of the Associate Synod at Edinburgh, concerning some
Ministers who have separated from them. 1748.
Warning by the Associate Synod in Scotland; addressed to persons of all
ranks in Great Britain and Ireland. Edin. 1758.
An Address to
the Associate Synod, met at Edinburgh, Oct. 11, 1759, concerning a
petition and reasons laid before them by the Rev. Alexander Moncrieff,
of a false and abusive Libel, entitled, ‘The procedure of the Associate
Synod in Mr. Pirie’s case represented,’ &c. 1764.
A Refuge of
Lies Swept away. 1768.
Truth: A Display of the Secession Testimony in the three periods of the
rise, state, and maintenance of the Testimony. 2 vols. 8vo, 1774.
against a new heresy concerning the true Sonship of Jesus Christ. A
Sermon from John ix. 35. 1777.
Dominiciae: A Defence of the reformation standards in the Church of
Scotland, concerning the administration of the Lord’s Supper, and the
one Sonship of Jesus Christ. Edin. 1778.
An Account of
the burgher Re-Exhibition of the Secession Testimony. Edin. 1780.
of some late Reveries concerning the Sonship of Christ. Edin. 1780.
A Memorial and
Remonstrance read before the Associate Synod, at Edinburgh, May 2, 1782,
relative to a printed Sermon which had been preached before them. Edin.
Contemplations; in three parts. Containing, 1. A view of the Covenant of
Works; 2. Of the Covenant of Grace; and 3. Of the absolute and immediate
dependence of all things on God. Edin. 1786, 8vo. At the end of this
work, executed in the 73d year of his age, and forming a compendious
body of Calvinistic divinity, was an ‘Essay on Liberty and Necessity,’
in answer to Lord Kames’ Essay on that subject.