John Ogilvie was born in Aberdeen and died there on 17 November 1813. He was educated at Aberdeen University (BD, 1758; DD, 1777). Like his father he was a Presbyterian minister and after 1759 spent his life in the small Scottish parish of Midmar. He first achieved fame with a series of long philosophical and historical poems, beginning with The Day of Judgment (1753), and shorter lyrics and hymns (the best known of which, ‘Lo, in the last of days behold’, was printed by the Church of Scotland in 1781). These works brought him frequent invitations to Edinburgh and London and membership in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, as well as attacks by Samuel Johnson (who told Boswell he ‘could find no thinking in them’) and Charles Churchill, who wrote in ‘The Journey’ (1765): ‘Under dark Allegory's flimsy veil/Let Them with Ogilvie spin out a tale/Of rueful length’. It was to Ogilvie that Johnson delivered his famous sentence in 1763: ‘The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!’
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.