1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ewing, Alexander

21673441911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10 — Ewing, Alexander

EWING, ALEXANDER (1814–1873), Scottish divine, was born of an old Highland family in Aberdeen on the 25th of March 1814. In October 1838 he was admitted to deacon’s orders, and after his return from Italy he took charge of the episcopal congregation at Forres, and was ordained a presbyter in the autumn of 1841. In 1846 he was elected first bishop of the newly restored diocese of Argyll and the Isles, the duties of which position he discharged till his death on the 22nd of May 1873. In 1851 he received the degree of D.C.L. from the university of Oxford. Though hampered by a delicate bodily constitution, he worked in a spirit of buoyant cheerfulness. By the charm of his personal manner and his catholic sympathies he gradually attained a prominent position. In theological discussion he contended for the exercise of a wide tolerance, and attached little importance to ecclesiastical authority and organization. His own theological position had close affinity with that of Thomas Erskine of Linlathen and Frederick Denison Maurice; but his opinions were the fruit of his own meditation, and were coloured by his own individuality. The trend of his teaching is only to be gathered from fragmentary publications—letters to the newspapers, pamphlets, special sermons, essays contributed to the series of Present Day Papers, of which he was the editor, and a volume of sermons entitled Revelation considered as Light.

Besides his strictly theological writings, Ewing was the author of the Cathedral or Abbey Church of Iona (1865), the first part of which contains drawings and descriptive letterpress of the ruins, and the second a history of the early Celtic church and the mission of St Columba. See Memoir of Alexander Ewing, D.C.L., by A. J. Ross (1877).