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Famous Teachers

Saint John Ogilvie


Born in Banffshire, Scotland, c. 1579; died in Glasgow, Scotland, March 10, 1615; beatified in 1929; canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1976 (the first Scottish saint since Margaret in 1250).

John Ogilvie, son of the Calvinist baron of Drum-na-Keith and Lady Douglas of Lochleven, returned to the faith of his fathers and forsook his heritage in this world as the result of a passionate course of theological studies and ardent prayers for light. The laird of Drum-na-Keith had sent his eldest son abroad so that his 13-year-old John could have the full benefit of French Calvinism as he studied for a few years at Louvain.

This is characteristic of the violent religious turmoil of the age: the boy of 15 was entirely absorbed by an interest in religion--and wanted to be clear about which faith was the 'true' one. He himself explained later that what decided the question for him--and for me--was his experience that the Roman Catholic Church included all kinds of people--emperors and kings, princes and noblemen, as well as burghers, peasants, and beggars--but that it overtopped them all--no man was above the Church.

John had also seen that the Church could impel people of all classes to renounce the whole world to devote themselves entirely to God. And the final reason, the one which in the end led to his conversion, was his having seen that the men who gave their lives and their blood for Christ, those who had died to spread Christianity among mankind, had been martyrs for the Christianity of Rome and not for that of Geneva or Wittenberg.

At the age of 17 (1596), John Ogilvie returned to Catholicism, because he wished to belong to the Church of the martyrs. Twenty years later, he himself suffered the death of a martyr.

After his reception into the Catholic church at the Scots College at Louvain, John continued his studies at Ratisbon (Regensburg) and Olmütz. In 1600, he joined the Jesuit novitiate at Brünn (Brno), where he enjoyed the Jesuit education in the liberal arts and sciences as well as religious studies and spiritual formation. For ten years he worked in Austria, mainly at Graz and Vienna, before he was assigned to the French province. Ogilvie was ordained at Paris in 1610 and stationed in Rouen, where he learned of the persecution of Catholics in his homeland. In 1613 received permission to go to Scotland to minister to the persecuted Catholics there.

Using the alias John Watson, purportedly a horse trader and/or a soldier back from the wars in Europe, he worked in Edinburgh, Renfrew, and Glasgow. He found that most of the Scottish Catholic noblemen had conformed, at least outwardly, and were unwilling to help a proscribed priest. Unable to make much of an impression, he went to London to contact one of the king's ministers and then to Paris for consultation. He was sharply told to return to Scotland, which he did.

In Edinburgh Ogilvie stayed at the house of William Sinclair, a lawyer whose son he tutored. He ministered to a congregation and visited imprisoned Catholics. Eventually Ogilvie was successful in winning back a number of converts to the Church. Soon he attracted the attention of Archbishop Spottiswoode, once a Presbyterian but now carrying out in Scotland the religious policies of James I and VI.

He was betrayed by a man named Adam Boyd, who trapped him by pretending to be interested in the faith. He was imprisoned, treated to the French torture of "the boot," and forcibly kept from sleep for eight days to compel him to reveal the names of other Catholics--which he refused. Steadfastly, he remained loyal to the crown in temporal matters. After months of torture he was found guilty of high treason for refusing to acknowledge the supremacy of the king in spiritual matters and for refusing to apostatize. He managed to write an account of his arrest and treatment in prison, which was smuggled out by visitors.

When Saint John appeared in court at Edinburgh in December 1613, he questioned why Catholics were persecuted. He claimed the right to the faith that had not only shown itself compatible with the order of society, but had been the main factor in the creation of that order and in the birth of the nation. He said, "Neither Francis [of France] has forbidden France, nor does Philip [of Spain] burn for religion but for heresy, which is not religion but rebellion."

Heir of Drum-na-Keith, who had forsaken his family, his home, and his estate to become a Jesuit and a priest, says to Spottiswoode and the other reformed clergymen who owed their position and all they possessed to the favor of King James:

"The King cannot forbid me my own country, since I am just as much a natural subject as the King himself. . . . What more do we owe him than our ancestors to his ancestors? If he has all his right to reign from his ancestors, why does he ask for more than they have left him by right of inheritance? They have never had any spiritual jurisdiction, nor have they ever exercised any; nor held any other faith than the Roman Catholic."

John Ogilvie was hanged in Glasgow



Professor  William Barclay CBE   DD

Minister of Trinity Church, Writer  and Scholar

Born on 5 December 1907 in Wick. He graduated  from Glasgow University in 1925 [M.A.1st Class Honours in Classics], and later studied at Marburg University. Assistant Minister at Newlands South Church, Glasgow in 1931, he was ordained in 1933 and came to Renfrew Trinity Church, where he stayed until  31 December 1946  when  he left to become  Lecturer in New Testament Language and Literature at Glasgow University [returning  to Renfrew later] . He was  appointed Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies and Hellenistic Greek. In 1956  Edinburgh University  conferred on him the Degree of Doctor of Divinity. Dr Barclay was   Examiner in New Testament Studies at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh,  St. Andrews  and Leeds. His other academic positions were as Member of the Society for New Testament Studies, and Member of the International Conference on Patristic Studies. He was  a Director of the National Bible Society of Scotland, a Member of the Translating Committee of the New English Bible , and Translator on the Apocryphal Panel.

Dr. Barclay lectured  throughout  Britain and held courses for Methodist  Preachers, Anglicans in  Oxford, the Royal Army Chaplains' Department, and gave Public Lectures for the University of Wales..He was a Member of the National Institute of Journalists and wrote for various publications. He was  a well-known broadcaster ,often heard on BBC Radio.  He married Katherine Barbara Gillespie, daughter of the Rev James Hogg Gillespie of Dundonald. They had three children,  one of whom drowned at sea on 11 August 1956.  In 1969 he was made a Commander of the British Empire

Dr. Barclay died on 24 January 1978.

He wrote - The Complete New Testament in the Daily Study Bible, The Promise of the Spirit,  Letters to the Seven Churches, The Masters Men, Flesh and Spirit, The Mind of Saint Paul, Prayers for the Plain Man, The Mind of the Master, Crucified and Crowned and a Testament of Faith.

[On a personal note - I have rarely heard a more powerful speaker than William Barclay. His teachings were marvellously clear and inspiring. His many books are good to read].

Thank you, O God, for all the help you have given me today

Thank you for
Keeping me safe all through today;
Helping me to do my work through today
Giving me strength to conquer my temptations all through today

Thank you for
My home and all that it has been to me;
My loved ones and all the circle of those most dear;
My friends and comrades with whom I have worked and talked

Thank you for
Any kindness I have received;
Any help that was given to me;
Any sympathy that was shown to me.
Help me to lay myself down to sleep tonight, with a glad and grateful heart
This I ask through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen

William Barclay (1907-1978)



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