Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Anderson, Christopher

ANDERSON, CHRISTOPHER (1782–1852), theological writer and preacher, was born at Edinburgh, 19 Feb. 1782, and was the son of William Anderson, a respectable merchant. Christopher began life in an insurance office, but being much interested in missions, and having resolved to become a foreign missionary, he gave up his secular work, and studied for the ministry. His family and friends were deeply imbued with the spirit of Robert and James Haldane, and Anderson's lot was thrown among this class. It was found, however, that his health did not justify his accepting a missionary appointment, and he therefore became minister of a small congelation in Edinburgh, known as ‘English Baptists.’ To this congregation, gathered through his own exertions, Anderson ministered till within a very short period of his death.

Anderson was much interested in the Scottish Highlands, and was a founder of the Gaelic School Society. To him was similarly due the establishment of the Edinburgh Bible Society — an independent association, not a mere branch of the British and Foreign Society. He was a very cordial supporter of the Serampore mission in India, a friend of the missionaries, and undertook many a journey to explain its objects and collect funds in its behalf. He published two memorials on the diffusion of the Scriptures in the Celtic dialects; and, in 1828, a volume of ‘Historical Sketches of the Native Irish.’ His chief work was the ‘Annals of the English Bible.’ On 4 Oct. 1835, being the tercentary of the publication of the first complete English Bible by Coverdale, Anderson published a sermon on ‘The English Scriptures, their first reception and effects, including Memorials of Tyndale, Frith, Coverdale, and Rogers.’ He then undertook his more elaborate ‘Annals,’ and laboured upon it from 1837 to 1845, when it was published in two volumes. The publication of this work brought its author into contact with many new friends, and gave him a leading position in this branch of literature. Another of Anderson's publications was entitled ‘The Domestic Constitution,’ intended to show that the christian home was the main school where the christian character might be expected to be formed and developed. This book was acknowledged to be the work of a devout and powerful mind, and in many quarters exercised a considerable influence. Anderson died on 18 Feb. 1852. He never received any public recognition of his labours. The university of New York would have sent him a diploma, had he not expressed his unwillingness to receive it. At his death he left a considerable collection of early English bibles, including several rare editions.

[Life, by his nephew, Edinburgh, 1853]

W. G. B.