This study is concerned with Principal Robert S. Candlish
as a preacher and theologian* Candlish's name has been always closely associated
with the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1813.
Moreover, after the death of Thomas Chalmers in I817, no man had
more power or influence in the Free Church than Candlish. The annals
of the Church are replete with his record of achievement, but his
success as a churchman in a critical religious period has overshadowed the fact that his contemporaries ranked him as one of the
greatest preachers and theologians of his day. The value of an
attempt to rediscover his pulpit eminence and theological contribution is seen in the fact that as both theologian and preacher he
epitomized the Free Church spirit of his generation. His pulpit work
was a conspicuous example of expository preaching in Scotland in the
nineteenth century. As a theologian he was one of the last representatives of the old school theology in his period. Because he played
such a leading role in the entire drama of the Disruption it is impossible to write anything about him without making some reference to
the conflict within the Church of Scotland in the raid-nineteenth
century. No attempt is made, however, to examine or restate the
Church's straggle within the Ten Years' Conflict or the period following upon the Disruption. Reference is made only to some typical
Assembly debates in order to present a complete picture of the man
as a preacher.
The theological portion of this thesis does not attempt to
consider Candlish's entire system of doctrine or to discuss every
tenet upon which ha ventured a remark. Any study of Candlish as
a theologian must consider him in the light of the theme which
dominated his thinking, infiltrated most of his sermons and formed
the basis for his Cunningham Lectures on the Fatherhood of God.
These published lectures precipitated the fatherhood controversy
in the nineteenth century which largely centered around Principal
Candlish of New College, Edinburgh, and Thomas Crawford, Professor
of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh.