David Dickson was the son of a wealthy merchant in Glasgow. His early aspirations to enter the family business were diverted through an illness and a subsequently lengthy period of convalescence. The result was that he entered the University of Glasgow (then under Principal Robert Boyd) and prepared for the Christian ministry. Following graduation he remained in the University as a regent until, in 1618, he was called to the parish of Irvine in Ayrshire. Deprived of his ministry in 1622 by the Bishop of Glasgow for his opposition to the Five Articles, he was banished for a year to Turiff in Aberdeenshire, but on his return was the instrument in the hand of God of numerous conversions. It was out of his pastoral experience that his famous manual of spiritual counsel, Therapeutica Sacra, was written. In 1638 he was present at the famous Assembly which restored Presbyterian government in Scotland, and the following year was chosen Moderator of the Scottish Church.
In 1640 he became Professor of Divinity in Glasgow, transferring to Edinburgh ten years later. During that period he played a considerable part in establishing vital, orthodox Christianity throughout the land. He helped to draw up the Directory for Public Worship, and with James Durham compiled the Sum of Saving Knowledge (a work instrumental in later years in the conversion of Robert Murray M'Cheyne). Restoration troubles after the return of King Charles II in 1660, hastened his death. As the end drew near, he spoke the memorable words: 'I have taken all my good deeds, and all my bad and cast them in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace.'
His various commentaries were published in conjunction with a number of other ministers, each of whom, in accordance with a project initiated by Dickson, had particular books of the 'hard parts of scripture' assigned them. He was also the author of a number of short poems on pious and serious subjects, to be sung with the common tunes of the Psalms.
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Scots Worthies by John Howie
David Dickson was born about the year 1583. He was the only son of Mr John Dick or Dickson, merchant in Glasgow, whose father was an old feuar and possessor of some lands in the barony of Fintry, and parish of St Ninian's, called the Kirk of the Muir. His parents were religious, of considerable substance, and were many years married before they had ...read
Short Account of the Life of the Rev. David Dickson
Biography by the Rev. Robert Wodrow
The following account is the production of Wodrow the historian, and was originally prefixed to an edition of a work entitled Truth's victory Over Error first published in 1684. This edition is editied by Rev. W.K.Tweedie, in 'Select Biographies' printed for the Wodrow Society, 1847.
The following accou ...read
Behold, My Servant
A Communion Sermon "Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many as were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them sh ...read
Regeneration & the Regenerate Man
We speak not here of the regeneration of elect infants dying in their infancy; God hath his own way of dealing with them; but of the regeneration of those who are capable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word, which we may thus describe.
Regeneration (being one in effect with effectual calling) is the work of ...read
Sight through a Glass, and Face to Face
I love the windows of thy grace
thro' which my Lord is seen,
I long to meet my Saviour's face,
without a glass between.
Oh! that the happy hours were come,
to change my faith to sight :
I shall behold my Lord at home
in a diviner light.
Haste, my beloved, and remove
these interposing days ;
Then shall my passions all be love,
and all m ...read
The Sum of Saving Knowledge - Table of Contents
The Sum of Saving Knowledge may be taken up in these four heads:
1. The woeful condition wherein all men are by nature, through breaking of the covenant of works.
2. The remedy provided for the elect in Jesus Christ by the covenant of grace.
3. The means appointed to make them partakers of this covenant.
4. The blessings which are effectu ...read
Truth's Victory Over Error - Table of Contents
A Commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith
This book is not merely of historical interest; it is also of considerable value now because many of the errors refuted within its pages have surfaced again in the 21st century church under new guises. Christians today can learn a great deal from the faithful witness of form ...read