Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Chalmers Thomas

Chalmers, Thomas, D.D., LL.D., theologian, was born in 1780 at Anstruther, Fifeshire. After a course at the University of St. Andrew's, he was at the age of nineteen licensed to preach, and in 1803 was ordained minister of Kilmany. In 1815 he became minister of Tron Church, Glasgow, and by his oratory sprang into great popularity - a volume of his sermons reaching the enormous sale of 20,000 copies in a twelvemonth. He next found vent for his extraordinary powers in the parish of St. John's, inhabited mostly by work-people, and the spiritually and intellectually neglected classes. To his care was entrusted the management of the poor, and he reduced the expenditure on them from £1,400 to £280 per annum. In 1823 he accepted the moral philosophy chair in St. Andrew's, and in 1828 he was transferred to the chair of theology at Edinburgh. At this period the majority of his brilliant writings were produced, including a work on political economy and his Bridgewater treatise, On the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man. In 1834 he became head of the church extension committee, and such was his zeal and the enthusiasm that he evoked that in seven years 220 new churches were built. Meanwhile the seeds of the disruption were sown. The evangelical party being in the majority in the General Assembly, it was there asserted that the majority of a congregation should have the right to elect its minister. The decisions of the civil courts against this principle led to Chalmers's withdrawal in 1843 from the Established Church, and with him also withdrew 470 other ministers. These formed the Free Church, whose first moderator was Chalmers. He was also appointed principal of the Free Church College. This singularly gifted man died at Edinburgh in 1847 while still engaged in the performance of his duties. Among his works, which have had great influence upon Scottish life and thought, were: - The Application of Christianity to the Commercial and Ordinary Affairs of Life, 1820; The Evidence and Authority of the Christian Revelation, 1824; Lectures on the Establishment and Extension of Local Churches, 1838; The Efficacy of Prayer Consistent Kith the Uniformity of Nature, 1849; and Horae Biblicae Quotidianae, 1853.