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Works of James Hamilton Volume 1

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Review of set by Roy Hamilton, Free Pesbyterian Church of Scotland

The Works of James Hamilton, Tentmaker Publications, Stoke-on-Trent, 2010, Six hardback vols. each volume approximately 500 pages.

James Hamilton (1814-1867) was born in Paisley and graduated from Glasgow University in 1835. He then moved to Edinburgh to attend Thomas Chalmer’s theology lectures and was licensed by the Edinburgh Presbytery in 1838. After being an assistant to Robert Candlish at St George’s Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, where he formed a close lifelong friendship with Candlish, and then with James Wilson, the minister of Abernyte in the Presbytery of Dundee, he was ordained in January 1841 the minister of Roxburgh Place Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.

After a very short pastorate of little over six months he was inducted to the National Scottish Church, Regent Square in London where he remained for the rest of his life. The Regent Square Church had been built in 1827 for Edward Irving. Whilst he was an assistant at Abernyte he was very near to Robert M‘Cheyne at St Peter’s, Dundee and when M’Cheyne preached in London he was usually assisting Hamilton at communion seasons. James Hamilton was a prolific author and many, though not all, of his writings were reprinted in a collected edition of his works which ran to six volumes, published between 1869 and 1873. The Tentmaker reprint is of this edition produced originally by James Nisbet. In 1843 the Regent Square Church, under Hamilton’s ministry, severed its connection with the Church of Scotland and joined the Free Church of Scotland and then became associated with the Presbyterian Church in England.[1]

Hamilton was also the editor of the Presbyterian Messenger (the organ of the Presbyterian Church in England) and Evangelical Christendom (the organ of the Evangelical Alliance). His biography was written by William Arnot, Life of James Hamilton (London, 1870).

This six volume set contains much interesting and valuable material. In a short review it is impossible even to list the contents; all we can do is to focus on some of the significant material in each of the volumes.

Vol. 1. Includes his often printed treatise Life in Earnest, along with a treatise on prayer called The Mount of Olives.

Vol. 2. Contains a treatise on how the Bible aids the believer, called The Light to the Path, along with an exposition of the parable of the Prodigal Son and a treatise reminiscent of Alexander Stewart’s Tree of Promise called Emblems from Eden.

Vol. 3. This volume contains a series of Lectures on Ecclesiastes and a treatise on Lessons from the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vol. 4. This interesting volume contains twenty five lectures and addresses. Some are historical and provide sketches of the life of Thomas Chalmers and Charles Simeon and his predecessors along with a piece titled Recollections of the Rev. R. M. M’Cheyne written very shortly after his death.

Vol. 5. Is largely taken up with a treatise on the Life of Moses, the Man of God and Lectures on 2 Peter 1.

Vol. 6. Contains thirty-nine of Hamilton’s sermons and lectures.

Tentmaker are to be thanked for making available again this very rare set of books by a man who was a prominent member of the Bonar-M’Cheyne circle. Free Presbyterian Publications reprinted in 1969 Hamilton’s Life of Lady Colquhoun which is not included in this set.

The volumes are to Tentmaker’s usual high standard

Roy Middleton

 

 

[1] For the relationship between the Free Church and the English Presbyterian Church see, Kenneth M. Black, The Scots Churches in England (Edinburgh, 1906), pp. 112-152; R. Buick Knox, ‘The Relationship between English and Scottish Presbyterianism 1836-1876’, in Records of the Scottish Church History Society, Vol. 21:1, (1981), pp. 43-66; D. Cornick, ‘The Disruption in England: English Presbyterians and the Disruption of 1843’ in David Bebbington and Timothy Larsen (eds.), Modern Christianity and Cultural Aspirations, Sheffield Academic Press, 2003, pp. 288-308.

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