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GEORGE MATHESON (1842-1906)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 886 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GEORGE MATHESON (1842-1906), Scottish theologian and preacher, was born in Glasgow in 1842, the son of George Matheson, a merchant. He was educated at the university of Glasgow, where he graduated first in classics, logic and philosophy. In his twentieth year he became totally blind, but he held to his resolve to enter the ministry, and gave himself to theological and historical study. His first ministry began in 1868 at Innellan, on the Argyllshire coast between Dunoon and Toward. His books on Aids to the Study of German Theology, Can the Old Faith live with the New? The Growth of the Spirit of Christianity from the First Century to the Dawn of the Lutheran Era, established his reputation as a liberal and spiritually minded theologian; and Queen Victoria invited him to preach at Balmoral. In 1886 he removed to Edinburgh, where he became minister of St Bernard's Parish Church. Here his chief work as a preacher was done. In 1879 the university of Edinburgh conferred upon him the honorary degree of D.D., and the same year he declined an invitation to the pastorate of Crown Court, London, in succession to Dr John Cumming (1807-1881). In 1881 'he was chosen as Baird lecturer, and took for his subject " Natural Elements of Revealed Theology," and in 1882 he was the St Giles, lecturer, his subject being " Confucianism." In 1890 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Aberdeen gave him its honorary LL.D., and in 1899 he was appointed Gifford lecturer by that university, but declined on grounds of health. In the same year he severed his active connexion with St Bernard's. One of his hymns, " O love that will not let me go," has passed into the popular hymnology of the Christian Church. He died suddenly of apoplexy on the 28th of August 1906. His exegesis owes its interest to his subjective resources rather than to breadth of learning; his power lay in spiritual vision rather than balanced judgment, and in the vivid apprehension of the factors which make the Christian personality, rather than in constructive doctrinal statement.
End of Article: GEORGE MATHESON (1842-1906)
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