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William Symington (1795-1862)


William Symington (1795-1862)

James Dodson


William Symington was born in Paisley, Scotland, June 2, 1795. At the age of 15, he transferred to Glasgow University, intending upon entering the ministry of the Reformed Presbyterian church. After completing a four year degree in the arts, Symington spend another four years in the theological hall of the Reformed Presbyterian church studying theology under the Rev. John MacMillan (III), of Stirling. He was licensed to preach on June 30, 1818. Shortly thereafter, he received a call from two congregations; one from Airdrie, the other from Stranraer. Upon accepting the call of the congregation in Stranraer, he was ordained there, August 18, 1819. In 1839, he was called to the Glasgow congregation. As the pastor of that congregation, he often attracted large audiences to his lectures on Sabbath evenings. Upon the death of his brother Andrew, in 1853, he was chosen to fill the position of professor of theology in the Reformed Presbyterian church. He also remained the pastor of the Glasgow congregation, until 1859, when his son William was installed as his successor in that congregation. His published works include several valuable sermons on the testimony of the Scottish martyrs together with several pieces of religious concern. He also published an excellent volume on “The Atonement and Intercession of Jesus Christ,” (1834) which was often republished in the 19th century. His most noted work, upon which his reputation most rests, is his “Messiah the Prince,” (1839) also often republished. In this book, Symington gave popular expression to one of the distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian church—the mediatorial reign of Christ and its implications for the nations. He died on January 28, 1862, and was buried in the necropolis in Glasgow.