Chalmers, Thomas

Chalmers, Thomas, a celebrated Scotch ecclesiastic and pulpit orator, born at Anstruther, Fife; studied for the Church, and entered the ministry; after he did so was for some years more engrossed with physical studies and material interests than spiritual, but he by-and-by woke up to see and feel that the spiritual interest was the sovereign one, and to the promotion of that he henceforth devoted himself body and soul; it was for the sake of the spiritual he took the interest he did in the ecclesiastical affairs of the nation, and that the Church might have scope and freedom to discharge its spiritual functions was one chief ruling passion of his life, and it is no wonder he bent all his energies on a movement in the Church to secure this object; he was not much of a scholar or even a theologian, but a great man, and a great force in the religious life of his country; though the first pulpit-orator of his day, and though he wrote largely, as well as eloquently, he left no writings worthy of him except the “Astronomical Discourses” perhaps, to perpetuate his memory; he was distinguished for his practical sagacity, and was an expert at organisation; in his old age he was a most benignant, venerable-looking man: “It is a long time,” wrote Carlyle to his mother, just after a visit he had paid him a few days before he died—“it is a long time since I have spoken to so good and really pious-hearted and beautiful old man” (1780-1847).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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