James Morison

PRINCIPAL JAMES MORISON believed that Jesus died for the sins of all men without distinction or exception, and because of great opposition to this Biblical truth from the Secession Church he was removed from the ministry of the Secession Church.
The Evangelical Union, which Morison was instrumental in founding when he was suspended from the ministry of the Secession Church, owed so much to him as a preacher and theologian of outstanding ability and understanding.

As a denomination the Evangelical Union was characterized from the very first by its evangelical spirit and zeal. A living force in the religious life of Scotland and elsewhere. James Morison was recognized as a great theologian, his expository works and commentaries that flowed from his pen are of lasting value.

It was as preacher that he first revealed his power from the Lord and he remained a preacher of the Gospel with peculiar influence to the last. During his first ministry in Clerk’s Lane Church, Kilmarnock, it was impossible to find accommodation for crowds anxious to hear him.

During his preaching tours that same thing happened. People would stand, queuing in the rain to hear him; such was his influence with the Word of God.

When James Morison came to Dundas Street Church, Glasgow, of which he was the first minister, his preaching had the same wide appeal. Along with his ministry he combined the Principalship of the Theological Hall, and the impact he exerted there was notable in the life of Glasgow at that time. His expository ministry from Romans was outstanding, in eleven lectures from Romans 9 the Church in East Regent Street was filled each time with 1500 people including hundreds of Ministers from all denominations. (Not bad for an outcast! FR)

His wonderful ministry revealed perhaps as perfect a combination of the expository and the evangelical as we have seen. It was impossible for him to refrain from expounding the shade of meaning in a text or the general significance of a passage as to restrain him from extolling the precious name of Jesus and the love of Jesus Christ. His manner was so quiet, his language so apt, and his style so lucid as to weave a spiritual bond of love over his hearers. 

One who studied under Morison and knew him well has said: “He did not favour the idea of taking a text as motto. His great purpose was to find out the mind of the spirit in the words of Scripture and exhibit it. Often he said to his students and others that it was a small matter what the people thought on any Biblical subject, but it was essential that they should know what Jesus thought. The advice he gave others he followed himself in every way. One result of this was his preaching was a continual magnifying of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no wonder the people heard him gladly as they did for he was intensely evangelical. He literally gloried in exalting the Saviour. To James Morison Jesus was his own personal Saviour and Lord and the setting forth of His love and grace and power to save in a mighty way to all people and at all times was his unfailing joy and delight.

The truth of Atonement by Jesus Christ for all men was James Morison’s great theme all his life, and it is not surprising that his favourite hymn was:

In the cross of Christ I glory
Towering o’er the rocks of time;
All the light of sacred story 
Gathers round its head sublime.