Chalmers, Thomas


Chalmers, Thomas

▪ Scottish minister

born March 17, 1780, Anstruther, Fife, Scot.
died May 30, 1847, Edinburgh
 Presbyterian minister, theologian, author, and social reformer who was the first moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.

      Chalmers was ordained as minister of Kilmeny parish, Fife, in 1803. After reading William Wilberforce's Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System (1797), Chalmers adopted the evangelical position, which stressed the importance of faith for salvation. From 1815 he gained fame as one of the great pulpit orators in his ministry of Tron parish, Glasgow.

      On becoming minister at St. John's, the largest and also the poorest parish in Glasgow, in 1819, Chalmers addressed himself to the problems of poverty. Receiving permission from the city to administer all the charitable funds donated in the churches, he had great success in ameliorating the condition of the poor while reducing costs. In 1823 he accepted the chair of moral philosophy at the University of St. Andrews, which he left five years later to become professor of divinity at the University of Edinburgh. At this time he was gaining recognition as a leader of the Evangelical party in the Church of Scotland, those who desired independence for the church from civil interference and who advocated the right of parishioners to choose their minister. The factional conflict culminated in the Disruption of 1843, when on May 18 a group of 203 commissioners walked out of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in protest against the government's refusal to grant spiritual independence to the church. Chalmers was made moderator of the new Free Church of Scotland. He was subsequently chosen as principal of the church's New College, founded in Edinburgh for ministerial training.

      Chalmers was more concerned with the solution of human problems than with theological doctrines, and he sought to apply Christian ethics to economic issues. In An Enquiry into the Extent of and Stability of National Resources (1808) he argued that Napoleon's policy of continental blockade, far from ruining British trade, would merely cut off certain luxuries and turn to other, perhaps better, uses the funds that had supplied those luxuries. His work among the poor of Glasgow helped to fix his economic views, set forth in Christian and Civic Economy of Large Towns, 3 vol. (1821–26), and in On Political Economy (1832). His most significant theological study, On the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man, was written in 1833 and later incorporated in his Institutes of Theology (1849).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • CHALMERS, Thomas — (1780 1847)    Scottish theologian and EVANGELICAL preacher whose intellectual defense of Christianity was linked with a strong concern for the poor. He pioneered popular EDUCATION and modern SOCIAL WELFARE. In 1843 he helped found the FREE… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Chalmers, Thomas —    R Offered, but declines, charge of educational policy in Upper Canada, 37 …   The makers of Canada

  • Chalmers, Thomas — (1780 1847)    Divine, economist, and philanthropist, b. at Anstruther, Fife, s. of a shipowner and merchant, studied at St. Andrews and, entering the ministry of the Church of Scotland, was first settled in the small parish of Kilmeny, Fife, but …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Thomas Chalmers — Thomas Chalmers …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Chalmers — (March 17, 1780 May 31, 1847), Scottish mathematician and a leader of the Free Church of Scotland, was born at Anstruther in Fife.OverviewAt the age of eleven Chalmers was entered as a student at St Andrews, where he devoted himself almost… …   Wikipedia

  • Thomas Henry Huxley — Woodburytype print of Huxley (1880 or earlier) Born 4 May 1825(1825 05 04) …   Wikipedia

  • Thomas C. Chalmers — Infobox Person image size = 150px birth date = Birth date|1917|12|08 birth place = New York City death date = Death date|1995|12|27 death place = Lebanon, New Hampshire known for = Research into randomized controlled trial and meta analysis… …   Wikipedia

  • Thomas Chalmers (acteur) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chalmers.  Cet article concerne le chanteur et acteur américain. Pour le théologien écossais (1780 1847), voir Thomas Chalmers. Thomas Chalmers …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas Chalmers — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chalmers.  Cet article concerne le théologien écossais. Pour le chanteur puis acteur américain (1884 1966), voir Thomas Chalmers (acteur) …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.