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Stone No.648




Minister of the

congregational church in this place

died 2nd November 1773

aged 78 years

he long survived


his beloved wife

interred in the same grave

and all his children fifteen in number

many of whom arrived at mature are

and nine lie here beside their parents

His character in the

churches of Christ is well known

and will outlive all

monumental inscriptions

Claimant: Glasite Congregation

Source:Register of Tombs and Monuments in Dundee Burial Ground, 1832

JOHN GLAS was the son of Mr ALEXANDER GLAS, minister of Kinclaven, and was born at Auchtermuchty on 21st September, 1695, where his father was then minister. He was educated first at the parish school of Kinclaven, and afterwards at Auchtermuchty and at Perth, completing his studies at S. Leonard's College. On 6th May, 1713, he obtained his degree of Master of Arts at the University of St Andrews, was licensed by the Presbytery of Dunkeld in 1718, and placed as minister of Tealing in the following year. His success as a popular preacher was rapid and great, but shortly after his settlement he advocated certain views as to the constitution of the Church which did not meet with the approval of his co Presbyters. In 1725 he formed a Society outside of his church, which he conducted according to the principles that he had adopted, although he still ministered to his regular congregation in the usual way. His chief difference with the clergy of the National Church related to the Covenants, the adherence to which was then regarded as obligatory upon all members. He maintained that the Civil Magistrate should have no power to interfere with the government of the Church; that "the National Covenants were without warrant of God's Word; and that those who suffered in late times for adhering thereto were so far unenlightened. That there is no warrant for a National Church under the New Testament, and that a single congregation, with its presbyteries, is in its discipline subject to no jurisdiction under heaven." These views were so pertinaciously taught and acted upon by Mr GLAS that his case was brought under the notice of the Church Courts, and he was suspended by the Synod on 18th April, 1725. The Commission of the General Assembly continued the sentence of suspension in May, 1728, he was deposed in October of that year, and the deposition was confirmed by the Assembly Commission in May, 1730.

At this time he removed to Dundee and founded an Independent Church there in accordance with his principles. He soon gathered around him a considerable number of persons like minded with himself, and formed a regular congregation known by the name of Glassites. In 1733 he returned to Perth, where his father in law, Mr THOMAS BLACK, was minister, and here a small meeting house was built by some of his adherents; but the spirit of intolerance was then so rampant that an attempt was made to have him excluded from that Burgh as a fomenter of discord. He remained in Perth, however, for many years, and soon found his supporters increasing in numbers throughout Scotland. But he was still regarded as a dangerous schismatic by the Established Church, and though on 22nd May, 1739, the Assembly reversed the sentence of deposition, it was declared "that he is not to be esteemed a minister of the Church of Scotland until he shall renounce the principles embraced by him that are inconsistent with the constitution of the Church." It is worthy of notice that the Act of the Town Council of Dundee constituting him a free Burgess was made shortly after he was released from the ban of ecclesiastical censure. His principal clerical opponent at this time was Mr JOHN WILLISON, minister of the South Church of Dundee from 1716 till 1750. The greater portion of Mr GLAS'S life after leaving Tealing was spent in Perth; but he returned to Dundee towards the close of his career, and died there on 2nd November, 1773, in the seventy ninth year of his age. His wife, KATHARINE BLACK, whom he married in 1721, had long predeceased him, as she died in December, 1749.

Source:Eminent Burgesses of Dundee - A.H. Millar 1887