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Robert Barclay

An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, as the Same Is Held Forth, and Preached by the People, Called, in Scorn, Quakers

John Forbes



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A finely bound first English language edition of An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, as the Same Is Held Forth, and Preached by the People, Called, in Scorn, Quakers.

  • Robert Barclay (Scottish).
  • Aberdeen: John Forbes, 1678.
  • Bound in contemporary speckled sheep, gilt decorated spine, gilt lettered red morocco spine label, covers ruled in blind with blind floral corner pieces, the center of each cover with the monogram and gilt arms of William Douglas, first duke of Queensberry.

A rare copy of the Aberdeen edition, the first in English, of Barclay's best-known and most important work, a book called by DNB "one of the most impressive theological writings of the century." Published first in Latin (in Amsterdam in 1676), the book gives a thorough explanation of Quaker doctrine, including the central role of revelation and Scripture, Original Sin, redemption, grace, ministry, worship, Baptism, Communion, freedom of conscience and pious behavior. Though he claims that his text is divinely inspired, the author nevertheless argues point and counterpoint, in the manner of Aquinas. The Scotsman Robert Barclay (1648–90) was a learned and rational theologian with a good knowledge of biblical Greek and Hebrew who rejected extremist views and who embraced the Quaker religion of his father, despite his own attraction to Catholicism. Lowndes refers to him as "the celebrated apologist for the Quakers, and one of the ablest writers of that sect." He was a good friend of William Penn and enjoyed the favor of James II. The early owner of this volume, William Douglas, first Duke of Queensberry (1637–95), was a prominent statesman who served as lord high treasurer of Scotland from 1682–86, and as Lord President of the Privy Council from 1686–89. This Aberdeen first printing is apparently quite scarce as NUC locates just three copies.

Condition Report

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Very Good
Like New

Minor smudging to title-page.

Head of spine rubbed with some loss.

Upper hinges just starting but hinges firm.


Height: 7.9 inches / 20.07 cm
Width: 6.15 inches / 15.62 cm




Religion, Religious manuscripts, Fine bindings

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