Scottish Quaker theologian and apologist; b. Gordonstown (Elginshire), Dec. 23, 1648; d. Ury (Aberdeen), Oct. 3, 1690. His father, David (1610–86), had been a soldier in the army of Gustavus II Adolphus, and later served in the English parliament of Oliver crom well) (1654 and 1656). He joined the Society of friends in 1666, and Robert, who was educated at the Roman Catholic Scottish College at Paris, followed his example the next year. Robert was imprisoned several times for his Quaker beliefs, but in his travels through Germany and Holland he won the sympathy of Elizabeth, Princess Palatine, and on his return to England found favor with the Duke of York (later James II). This friendship was instrumental in obtaining a patent of the province of East New Jersey for William penn and 12 Quakers. Barclay was governor of this territory in 1683.
Barclay's learning is revealed in several publications: A Catechism and Confession of Faith (1673); Theologiae verae christianae apologia (Amsterdam 1676), translated into Dutch, French, Spanish, and entitled in English An Apology for the True Christian Divinity: Being an Explanation and Vindication of the People Called Quakers (1678); The Anarchy of Ranters (1676); The Apology Vindicated (1679); and The Possibilty and Necessity of an Inward and Immediate Revelation (1680). His Apology is organized on the basis of 15 propositions:(1) The true knowledge of God is the most necessary knowledge. (2) Divine inward revelations are absolutely necessary for building true faith. (3) The Scriptures give a faithful and historical account of God's acts, prophecies, and the principal doctrines of Christ. (4) All mankind fell with Adam. (5) Christ, the true Light, enlightens all (universal redemption). (6) This universal redemption must be placed in the evangelical principle of light and life. (7) Justification is "Jesus Christ formed within us," producing good works. (8) Perfection does not rule out the possibility of sinning. (9) The possibility of falling from grace exists. (10) Human commission is not needed for preaching. (11) The Spirit moves inwardly and immediately for a true and acceptable worship of God. (12) Infant baptism is a human tradition. (13) Participation of the body and blood of Christ is inward and spiritual. (14) The civil magistrate cannot force the conscience of others. (15) Customs and habits, such as removing the hat, bowing, and recreations (sports), are to be rejected and forsaken. Barclay's writings are still regarded as authoritative together with those of William Penn, and Barclay's humanitarian and pacifist views are followed by the Society of Friends.
Bibliography: w. armistead, Life of Robert Barclay (Manchester, Eng. 1850). m. c. cadbury, Robert Barclay (London 1912). m. schmidt, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 1:870. f. l. cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 130. l. stephen, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 1: 1087–90. a. schmitt, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 1957–65) 1:1241–42.
[c. s. meyer]
BARCLAY, Robert. British/Canadian, b. 1946. Genres: Music, Anthropology/Ethnology. Career: Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, senior conservator of instruments, 1975-. Trumpet-maker and instructor in brass-instrument making; conservator of museum artifacts, specializing in musical instruments. Author of the quarterly column, Musae Museae. Publications: (ed. and contrib.) Anatomy of an Exhibition: The Look of Music, 1983; The Art of the Trumpet-Maker, 1992. Contributor to periodicals. Address: Canadian Conservation Institute, 1030 Innes Rd, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0M5. Online address: [email protected]
Robert Barclay, 1648–90, Scottish apologist for the Society of Friends (Quakers). He wrote many controversial works but is best known for his great treatise An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, which appeared in Latin in 1676 and in English two years later. The duke of York (later James II) granted a patent of the province of East Jersey to 12 members of the Society of Friends; Barclay was nominal governor (1682–88), but he never went to America. His collected works were published in 1692 as Truth Triumphant.
See biography by D. E. Trueblood (1967).