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Significant Scots
Adam Gib

GIB, ADAM, long distinguished as leader of the religious party called Anti-burghers, was a native of Perthshire, and born in 1713. He received his education at the university of Edinburgh. In the year 1741, he was ordained a minister of the Associated Presbytery, recently formed by Mr Ebenezer Erskine and others, as detailed in the life of that eminent individual. Mr Gib’s charge was one of the most important in the kingdom—namely, the congregation in the southern suburbs of Edinburgh, which was afterwards administered to by the late Dr Jamieson, the learned author of the Scottish Etymological Dictionary. It is well known, that during the progress of the rebellion of 1745-6, no body of individuals in Scotland manifested a warmer loyalty to the government than that to which Mr Gib belonged. When the insurgents were approaching Edinburgh, about three hundred of the congregation in and around the city took up arms for its defence, hired a sergeant to teach them the military exercise, and were the last to deliver up their arms to the castle, when all hope of holding out the town had been abandoned. During the six weeks occupation of the city by prince Charles, the established presbyterian clergy were, with one exception, mute, having mostly fled to the country. Mr Gib was also obliged to abandon his meeting-house; but he did not fly so far as the rest, nor resign himself to the same inactivity. He assembled his congregation at Dreghorn, about three miles from the town, and within a short distance of Collington, where the insurgents kept a guard, and not only preached the gospel as usual, but declared that he was doing so, as an open proof and testimony "that we are resolved, through the Lord’s grace, to come to no terms with the enemy that has power in the city, but to look on them as enemies, showing ourselves to be none of their confederacy. In our public capacity," he continued, "it is fit that we make even a voluntary removal from the place where they are, as from the seat of robbers, showing ourselves resolved that their seat shall not be ours." Mr Gib thus discoursed on five different Sundays, "expressly preaching up an abhorrence of the rebellion then on foot, and a hope of its speedy overthrow, and every day making express mention of the reigning sovereign in public prayer; praying for the safety of his reign, the support of his government, a blessing on his family, and the preservation of the protestant succession in that family; at the same time praying for the suppression of the rebellion, expressly under the characters of an unnatural anti-christian rebellion, headed by a popish pretender." What is most surprising of all, to pursue Mr Gib’s own relation of the circumstances, "while I was doing so, I ordinarily had a party of the rebel guard from Collington, who understood English, standing before me on the outside of the multitude. * * * Though they then attended with signs of great displeasure they were restrained from using any violence: yet, about that time, as I was passing on the road near Collington, one of them, who seemed to be in some command, fired at me; but, for any thing that appeared, it might be only with a design to fright me."

In a subsequent part of the campaign, when the Seceders re-appeared in arms along with the English army, Mr Gib seems to have accompanied them to Falkirk, where, a few hours before the battle of the 17th January, he distinguished himself by his activity in seizing a rebel spy. When the rebels in the evening took possession of Falkirk, they found that person in prison, and, being informed of what Mr Gib had done, made search for him through the town, with the intention, no doubt, of taking some measure of vengeance for his hostility.

Referring the reader to the article Ebenezer Erskine for an account of the schism which took place in 1747, in the Associated Presbytery, respecting the burgess oath, we shall only mention here that Mr Gib took a conspicuous part at the head of the more rigid party, termed Antiburghers, and continued, during the rest of his life to be their ablest advocate and leader. A new meeting-house was opened by him, November 4, 1753, in Nicholson Street, in which he regularly preached for many years to about two thousand persons. His eminence in the public affairs of his sect at last obtained for him the popular epithet of Pope Gib, by which he was long remembered. In 1765, when the general assembly took the subject of the Secession into consideration, as a thing that "threatened the peace of the country," Mr Gib wrote a spirited remonstrance against that injurious imputation; and, as a proof of the attachment of the Seceders to the existing laws and government, detailed all those circumstance respecting the rebellion in 1745, which we have already embodied in this notice. In 1774, Mr Gib published "A Display of the Secession Testimony," in two volumes 8vo; and in 1764, his "Sacred Contemplations," at the end of which was "An Essay on Liberty and Necessity," in answer to lord Kame’s essay on that subject. Mr Gib died, June 18, 1788, in the 75th year of his age and 48th of his ministry, and was interred in the Grey Friars’ church-yard, where an elegant monument was erected to his memory, at the expense of his grateful congregation.

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