Cunningham William, Dd
Cunningham William, D.D., an eminent minister of the Free Church of Scotland, was born in October, 1805, and was fully identified with all the movements and controversies which led to the disruption of the Church of Scotland. He received at the hands of the Free Church all the honors in their gift, and was moderator of the Assembly in 1859. At the time of his death he was principal of the college of the Free Church of Scotland. After the disruption he visited America, where his eloquence and intellectual power enabled him to enlist the sympathies of a large portion of the churches, and to secure an amount of material aid at that time greatly needed by the Free Church. He died at his house in Edinburgh, Scotland, December 14,1861. His principal writings were collected after his death by his literary executors, as follows, viz., The Reformers, and the Theology of the Reformation (Edinb. 1862, 8vo); Discussions of Church Principles (Edinb. 1863, 8vo); Historical Theology (Edinb. 1864, 2 vols. 8vo). The first two works consist chiefly of Dr. Cunningham's Review articles; the last, of his lectures in the Free Church College. They manifest large learning, great grasp of theological science, both historical and doctrinal, and a thoroughly evangelical spirit. In regard to Church government, Dr. Cunningham was a Presbyterian, "believing that Christ has committed the government of his Church, not to congregations, nor to prelatic bishops, but to presbyters or elders, otherwise called bishops. But, above all, he was a Calvinist, maintaining that man is by nature helplessly lost, and is and can be saved only by the free and sovereign love of God, giving salvation to whom he will, in what manner he will, because he wills it. He will be recognized in history, not as a Free Churchman, nor as a Presbyterian, but as a great Calvinist, occupying a place in his generation such as Calvin and Turretine occupied in theirs. The Calvinistic system Dr. Cunningham holds not provisionally, as a half-way house to some more comprehensive system in posse, 'looming in the future,' but definitely, as what has been ascertained to be the system revealed in God's Word, the only possible exhibition of all the Scripture facts regarding God and man, the only scriptural description of what God actually is, and has done, and is doing, in his relation to rational creatures, and specially in order to man's salvation. He therefore immovably rests in the conviction that no new discovery can be made in theology; that any pretended novelty is either Calvinism under a new form, or some of the old errors in disguise which have been advanced against Calvinism, and which, as opposed to Calvinism, are, ipso facto, shown to involve a lie." — Brit. and For. Evangelical Review, Jan. 1863, p. 193 sq ; Wilson, Presbyt. Almanac, 1863, p. 163; Lond. Quarterly Review, April, 1863, p. 258; N. British Review, Feb. 1863.