Blaikie, William G. Page

His father James Ogilvie Blaikie was the first Provost of Aberdeen following its reformed corporation. After studying at Marischal College, where Alexander Bain and David Masson were among his contemporaries, he went in 1839 to Edinburgh to complete his theological studies under Thomas Chalmers. In 1842 he was presented to the parish of Drumblade as their minister by Lord Kintore, to whose family he was connected. The Disruption of 1843 reached its climax immediately afterwards, and Blaikie was one of the 474 ministers who signed the deed of demission and gave up their livings. [1]

He found a brief position as Free Church minister of Turriff 1843/44 before being translated to Pilrig Free Church on the boundary between Leith and Edinburgh. This was agreed in January 1844 and his first service was on 1 March 1844. The church was the second purpose-built church for the Free Church and was designed by a congregation member, David Cousin. Elders of the church included Francis Brown Douglas.[2]

Blaikie remained minister of Pilrig until 1868, overseeing the building of a new and more lavish Free Church on the corner opposite the original church, this being designed in 1865 by the architects Peddie & Kinnear, together with a new purpose-built manse on Pilrig Street. Keenly interested in questions of social reform, his first publication was a pamphlet, which was afterwards enlarged into a book called Better Days for Working People. It received public commendation from Lord Brougham, and 60,000 copies were sold. He formed an association for providing better homes for working people, and the Pilrig Model Buildings were erected. He also undertook the editorship of the Free Church Magazine, and then that of the North British Review, which he carried on until 1863. In 1864 he was asked to undertake the Scottish editorship of the Sunday Magazine, and much of his subsequent writing was done for this magazine, especially in the editorial notes.[1]

In 1862, when he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh he was living at 9 Palmerston Road, a very large villa in the Grange, Edinburgh.[3]

In 1868, Blaikie was asked to fill the chair of apologetics and pastoral theology at New College, Edinburgh. His position at Pilrig Free Church was filled by Rev James Calder Macphail. Blaikie subsequently was a Professor of Divinity there until 1897. In 1870 he was one of two representatives chosen from the Free Church of Scotland to attend the united general assembly of the Presbyterian churches of the United States. He prolonged his visit, made by a similar tour in Europe, and became the real founder of the Presbyterian Alliance. In 1892 he was elected to the chairmanship of the general assembly, the last of the moderators who had entered the church before the disruption. In 1897 he resigned his professorship.

He died at home, 2 Tantallon Terrace, North Berwick,[4] on 11 June 1899. He is buried in Rosebank Cemetery on Pilrig Street, Edinburgh, against the central north-facing retaining wall.[1]

Blaikie was a temperance reformer, and raised money for the relief of the Waldensian churches. He welcomed Dwight L. Moody to Scotland, and the evangelist made his headquarters with him during his first visit.[1]

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Expositor's Bible Vol 09 2Samuel By William G  Blaikie
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