Gray, Andrew (1805-1861) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 23
Gray, Andrew (1805-1861)

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GRAY, ANDREW (1805–1861), Scottish presbyterian divine, born at Aberdeen, 2 Nov. 1805, went first to a school kept by Gilbert, father of Forbes Falconer [q. v.], and afterwards to Marischal College, where he graduated A.M. in 1824, and passed through the theological course (1824–8). He was licensed to preach by the Aberdeen presbytery 25 June 1829, and became minister of a chapel-of-ease at Woodside, near Aberdeen, 1 Sept. 1831. Gray was from the first an orthodox evangelical, a vigorous supporter of reform in the church of Scotland, and a pronounced enemy to all that savoured of Romish doctrine. He publicly defended the Anti-Patronage Society as early as 1825, and agitated for the Chapels Act, by which ministers of chapels-of-ease became members of presbyteries. In 1834 he was admitted under this act a member of the Aberdeen presbytery. On 14 July 1836 he was appointed minister of the West Church, Perth, where he remained till his death. Gray was a very energetic leader in the controversies which resulted in the disruption of 1843 and the foundation of the Free church. A pamphlet by him, ‘The present Conflict between Civil and Ecclesiastical Courts examined,’ Edinburgh, 1839, 8vo, had a wide circulation and great influence. On his secession from the church of Scotland nearly all his congregation followed him. His new church was opened 28 Oct. 1843.

In 1845 he drew up at the request of the Free church leaders ‘A Catechism of the Principles of the Free Church’ (1845 and 1848), which involved him in a controversy with the Duke of Argyll. In December 1841 Gray was commissioned to visit Switzerland to express the sympathy of the Free church with the suspended ministers of the Canton de Vaud; he extended his tour to Constantinople. In 1855 he was appointed convener of the Glasgow evangelisation committee, and he was always active in home missions and in spreading education. Failing health made another long continental tour necessary in 1859. He died at Perth 10 March 1861. He married, 23 July 1834, Barbara, daughter of Alexander Cooper. Robert Smith Candlish [q. v.] collected nineteen of Gray's sermons, with memoir and portrait, under the title ‘Gospel Contrasts and Parallels,’ Edinburgh, 1862.

[Dr. Candlish's Memoir, 1862; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Hew Scott's Fasti, pt. iv. p. 618.]