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Abernethy John

ABERNETHY, ab´er-neth-i, JOHN: Irish Presbyterian; b. at Brigh, County Tyrone, Oct.19, 1680; d. at Dublin Dec., 1740. He studied at Glasgow (M.A.) and Edinburgh, and became minister of the Presbyterian congregation at Antrim in 1703. In 1717, following his own judgment and desire, he chose to remain at Antrim, although the synod wished him to accept a call from a Dublin congregation. To disregard an appointment of the synod was an unheard-of act for the time, and the Irish Church was split into two parties, the “Subscribers” and “Non-Subscribers,” Abernethy being at the head of the latter. The Non-Subscribers were cut off from the Church in 1726. From 1730 till his death he was minister of the Wood Street Church, Dublin. Here he again showed himself in advance of his time by opposing the Test Act and “all laws that, upon account of mere differences of religious opinions and forms of worship, excluded men of integrity and ability from serving their country.” His published works are: Discourses on the Being and Perfections of God (2 vols., London, 1740-43); Sermons (4 vols., 1748-51), with life by James Duchal; Tracts and Sermons (1751).

Bibliography: J. S. Reid, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1834-37; DNB., i. 48-49.

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