We regret to announce the death of the Rev. Dr Andrew A. Bonar, minister of Finnieston Free Church, Glasgow, which took place last night at his residence, 20 India Street, Glasgow, after an illness of only two days' duration. Dr Bonar attended his weekly prayer meeting on Wednesday night, and was then in his usual health and spirits; but, taking a chill early on Thursday morning, he never recovered, and passed quietly away at half-past ten o'clock last night, surrounded by all the members of his family, except his son, Dr James Bonar, who is in London. By his death the Free Church loses one of her most gifted and respected ministers. Dr Bonar was a member of a family whose name is known throughout Christendom. He was the youngest of seven sons, all his brothers having predeceased him. Two of his brothers were eminent clergymen of Scotland. The one was the Rev. Dr John Bonar, minister of St Andrew's Free Church, Greenock, who died eighteen months ago, and the other was Dr Horatius Bonar, of Edinburgh, the gifted hymn-writer, who died about five years ago.
Born in Edinburgh on the 29th of May 1810, Dr Bonar had a brilliant career in the High School, from which he passed out as dux, and entering the University of Edinburgh, he was equally successful in carrying off honours. He was licensed by the Church of Scotland, and received a call in 1837 to the parish of Collace, in Perthshire, where he laboured with much acceptance for twenty years. When the Disruption took place in 1843, Dr Bonar was one of those who, from conscientious motives, left the Church of Scotland, and cast in his lot with the Free Church. In 1858, the Free Presbytery of Glasgow invited Dr Bonar to start a new church in Finnieston, and, accepting the invitation, he fulfilled his work so successfully that for many years the membership has been kept up at over nine hundred. About sixteen months ago, owing to his advancing years, Dr Bonar was provided with a colleague, the Rev. D. M. M'Intyre, of London. At the close of 1887 the rev. gentleman celebrated his jubilee, and the occasion showed in a remarkable manner the great esteem and deep regard in which he was held. Addresses of congratulation were presented to him by the Free Presbytery of Glasgow, his own congregation, and by many young men who had passed through his congregation, and had become ministers of the Church. In addition to these addresses, he was the recipient of a large sum of money which was willingly subscribed by many of his friends in all parts of the country and also abroad. Dr Bonar was the Moderator of the Free Assembly of 1878.
While Dr Bonar was perhaps best known for his work in the ministry, his pen was very active, and among his chief works were the "Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M'Cheyne," a "Commentary on Leviticus," and a "Commentary on the Book of Psalms." He also wrote a great many smaller articles for religious periodicals, and almost never failed to oblige any friend who wanted the use of his pen. The rev. gentleman was one of the most catholic spirited of ministers, and was always willing to hold out the hand of fellowship to brethren to whatever denomination they might belong. He was also much beloved, by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Indeed, one who knew him well has summed up his character in the single sentence, "He had many friends, but not a single enemy." - When Messrs Moody and Sankey came to this country in 1874, Dr Bonar was among the first to welcome them, and during the past nineteen years he had been a warm friend of the American Evangelists. Dr Bonar was himself an Evangelical of Evangelicals, and had a thorough sympathy with all aggressive spiritual work. In the pulpit Dr Bonar's strength lay in his unrivalled skill as an expositor. During the last fifty years of his ministry the rev. doctor had only been two Sundays out of the pulpit through ill-health, and, as he said himself on the occasion of his jubilee, he had never once gone into the pulpit unprepared. Last Sunday he preached a very striking sermon, in which he contended that the advent of Christ could not have happened at the end of December, the time when the Christian world commemorated this event. By those who were privileged to hear it the discourse will be long remembered.
Dr Bonar, who has died in his 83d year, leaves one son and four daughters, the eldest daughter having been married to Mr W. M. Oatts, of Glasgow, in 1883. It may be mentioned that Dr Bonar is the third prominent Glasgow ecclesiastic who has died within the past two months, the others being the Rev. Dr F. L. Robertson and Monsignor Monro.
Transcribed from the
Scotsman - archive,
Saturday 31st December 1892 - Page 7
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