Born in County Antrim, Ireland, October 2, 1768. He received the rudiments of a classical education in the schools of his native country. He graduated from the University of Glasgow, in 1790. He returned to Ireland where he engaged in teaching, and also began to study theology. In the fall of 1797, he came to America as an exile for liberty at the time of the Irish insurrection. He was employed for some time near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a teacher of the classics and subsequently in connection with the University of Pennsylvania. He resumed his theological studies, and was licensed by the Reformed Presbytery, at Coldenham, Orange County, New York, June 24, 1799. Being assigned to labor in western Pennsylvania, he soon afterwards gathered the Ohio congregation, centering in Pittsburgh, and including all the societies of Covenanters west of the Allegheny mountains. He was ordained by the Reformed Presbytery, and installed pastor of this extensive congregation, December 18, 1800. In 1806, this congregation was divided into three parts, and Black remained pastor of the portion in and around the city of Pittsburgh. He was also engaged as a classical teacher, and, in 1820, was elected Professor of Latin and Greek in the Western University of Pennsylvania. He resigned in 1832, when he visited Europe. He was president of Duquesne College for one year. He died at his residence, in Pittsburgh, October 25, 1849.