Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
Rev. Hugh Black, D.D.
THE Rev. Dr. Hugh Black, professor
of practical theology in Union Theological Seminary, New York, was born in
Rothsay, Scotland, March 26, 1868. He received his early education in
Rothsay Academy, and entering Glasgow University in 1883 was graduated in
1887, receiving the degree of M.A. In the fall of 1887 he began studying
divinity in the Free Church College, Glasgow, where he completed the four
years’ course. He began his ministry as assistant to the Rev. Dr. Ross
Taylor, Glasgow, and after a few months’ work was called to the newly
organized Sherwood Free Church, Paisley, and was ordained in 1891. He soon
impressed the community as a man of rare pulpit force; and after five
years of successful and fruitful pastorate, he yielded reluctantly, in
1896, to several overtures made to him by the St. George’s Free
Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh, to become associate minister with the Rev.
Dr. Alexander Whyte. The pulpit of Drs. Candlish and Whyte, which for
scores of years has been the leading church in Scotland, gave larger scope
to his preaching; his name became widely known, and invitations poured in
upon him to preach on special occasions in London and other large cities.
In 1905, Dr. Black was invited to
deliver a course of lectures on the art of preaching to the students of
Union Theological Seminary, New York. At the request of friends, he also
preached in some of the most important churches in New York, with great
appreciation. Shortly after he returned to Edinburgh, a movement was begun
to get Dr. Black to accept a professorship in Union Theological Seminary.
In 1906, after tcn years ministry in Edinburgh, he acepted the
professorship of practical theology in that institution. In the winter and
spring of each year, Dr. Black gives several weeks of his time to
universities and colleges throughout the country.
Dr. Black ranks among the greatest
preachers of our times. His discourses are original, brilliant and
suggestive. He infuses into his sermons his strong personality and appeals
to the intellect and the emotions. He is in great demand, and has refused
many calls from the leading churches in the United States and Great
Britain. In declining an urgent call to the pulpit of the City Temple,
London, England, in the summer of .1915, Dr. Black wrote:
the present situation the pull of my heart to the old country is almost
irresistible. I long to serve Great Britain in her day of distress. So
keenly do I feel this that it almost constitutes a temptation. Yet, with
it all, I cannot find assurance that duty should impel me to accept."
In 1908 he received the honorary
degree of D.D. from Yale University; in 1911 from Princeton; and in 1911
from the University of Glasgow.
Many of Dr. Black’s sermons have
been collected into books, and these and his other published writings have
reached the homes and hearts of many who have not been privileged to hear
him. His writings are marked by simple directness, deep sympathy and
understanding of human nature and aspirations. He has published: The
Dream of Youth, 1894; Friendship, 1898; Culture and
Restraint, 1900; Work, 1902; The Practice of Self Culture,
1904; Listening to God (Edinburgh Sermons), 1906; Christ
Sacrifice of Love, 1907; The Gift of Influence (University
Sermons, 1908) ; Comfort, 1910; Happiness, 1911; Three
Dreams, 1912; According to My Gospel (Montclair Sermons), 1914;
The Open Door, 1914; and The New World, 1915.
Dr. Black is of striking physical
appearance and of a genial and pleasing personality. One is impressed with
his modesty and his retiring disposition, and on fuller acquaintance with
his kindness, sociability and capacity for friendship. Through his work in
the United States he has won many friends and the affection of the
American people. Scotsmen are proud of so worthy a representative. His
teaching and writings have won him a high reputation, but the pulpit is
his throne. His humility and simplicity in prayer and deep reverence to
God and intensity in preaching are his marked qualities.
Dr. Black married, June 28, 1898,
Miss Margaret Edith Kerr, youngest daughter of Mr. Robert Kerr, of
Paisley, Scotland, and they have two sons and two daughters. His home is
in Montclair, N. J.; his address, Union Theological Seminary, New York