Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lindsay, William (1802-1866)

LINDSAY, WILLIAM, D.D. (1802–1866), united presbyterian minister, a native of Irvine, Ayrshire, was born in 1802, and studied at Glasgow University. When the synod of the relief church founded at Paisley in 1824 a theological hall under Professor James Thomson, D.D., in connection with their own denomination, Lindsay was one of the first students enrolled. He was ordained minister of the relief church on 27 April 1830, his first charge being the newly formed congregation at Johnstone, Renfrewshire, called the East Church. On 22 Nov. 1832 he was translated to Dovehill Relief Church, Glasgow, a congregation formed in 1766, where he acted as colleague of John Barr. Upon Barr's death in 1839 Lindsay succeeded to the sole charge. In 1841 he was appointed professor of exegetical theology and biblical criticism by the relief synod. He removed with his congregation from Dovehill to a new church which they had erected in Cathedral Street, Glasgow, in 1844, and the congregation was thenceforward called Cathedral Street Relief Church. The degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by the university of Glasgow in 1844. After the union of the relief and other secession churches, which resulted in the formation of the united presbyterian church in 1847, he was appointed professor of sacred languages and biblical criticism by the synod of the new denomination, and with John Brown, James Harper, Neil McMichael, and John Eadie formed the staff of the United Presbyterian Hall. On the death of Dr. Brown on 13 Oct. 1858, Lindsay, who as a professor was greatly beloved by all the students, was transferred to the chair of exegetical theology, and retained his professorship in conjunction with the charge of Cathedral Street United Presbyterian Church till his death, which took place very suddenly on Sunday, 3 June 1866. Earlier in the day he had twice preached in his own pulpit. Lindsay was from his youth of a studious temperament. He took the deepest interest in all public questions, and his platform speeches on the voluntary controversy, the temperance question, and papal aggression were very effective. The most memorable of his speeches was that which he delivered in Tanfield Hall, Edinburgh, at the foundation of the united presbyterian denomination.

His principal works were:

  1. ‘Life of Rev. Thomas Gillespie of Carnock, one of the Founders of the Relief Church,’ being the third volume of the series of ‘United Presbyterian Fathers,’ 1849.
  2. ‘The Miracles of Scripture defended from the assaults of Modern Scepticism,’ the lecture delivered at the opening of the United Presbyterian Hall in 1850.
  3. ‘The Law of Marriage,’ 1855; 2nd edit. 1871.
  4. ‘Exposition of Epistle to the Hebrews,’ 2 vols., edited in 1867 by George Brooks, who succeeded him in the Johnstone pastorate.

[McKelvie's Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church; Glasgow Herald, 6 June 1866; private information.]

A. H. M.