Alexander Whyte (January 13, 1836 - January 6, 1921) was a Scottish divine. He was born at Kirriemuir in Forfarshire and educated at the University of Aberdeen and at New College, Edinburgh. He entered the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland and after serving as colleague in Free St John's, Glasgow (1866-1870), removed to Edinburgh as colleague and successor to Dr RS Candlish at Free St Georges.
Born in the small Angus town of Kirriemuir, Whyte was educated at Aberdeen University and the Free Church College in Edinburgh. After four years as assistant minister at Free St. John's, Glasgow (1866-1870), he became colleague and successor to the famous R. S. Candlish at Free St. George's, Edinburgh. His appearance in the pulpit was as arresting and impressive as the preaching itself, which attracted people of every class and kind. A deep appreciation of God's grace to save sinners gave him rare passion and power. A dramatic quality captivated his congregations with its depth of spiritual fervor. "To know Dr. Whyte", said J. M. Barrie, himself a native of Kirriemuir, "was to know what the Covenanters were like in their most splendid hours."
In the month after Dr. Candlish died (1873), Whyte welcomed to Edinburgh two unknown American evangelists, Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey, and warmly supported both their meetings and the follow-up work. Such was the attendance at his own Tuesday prayer meeting that it had to move from the hall into the church itself. His addresses to men on personal morality were unusually forthright, and some were "shaken to the foundations of their being".
Whyte also had a breadth of culture (he lectured on Dante and corresponded with Newman) not often found in evangelicals of his day. In 1909 he became principal of New College, a post he held until three years before his death. He was moderator of his church's general assembly in 1898, and he wrote much, but it is as a preacher that he will always be remembered.
Works by Alexander Whyte
Whyte’s survey was the first review of the life and ideas of 17th century German mystic and theologian Jacob Behmen (in German, Jakob Böhme), and to this day it remains the most popular. As a scholar, Behmen had introduced a controversial idea to Lutheran theology: that the Fall was a necessary step in God’s narrative for the universe. For salvation to occur, creation must pass through fallenness, suffering, and evil. Behmen’s work influenced some of Europe’s most famous thinkers, including John Milton and G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel even went so far as to say that he was “the first German philosopher.”
Lord Teach Us to Pray brings together twenty-three sermons by Scottish theologian and preacher, Alexander Whyte. Divided into three parts, this collection of sermons describes the general features of prayer, certain important qualities of prayer, and a variety of examples of prayer from biblical characters. The title of the book is taken from Luke 11:1, and the sermons from several prayer series Whyte delivered from 1895 to 1906. Possessing a strong education, Whyte often incorporates the work of theologians, philosophers, poets, and scientists in his well-crafted sermons. His sermons, though originally delivered over one hundred years ago, retain their power of conviction and spiritual aptitude. Enriched with spiritual insight, Whyte's sermons demonstrate how the Lord can teach us how to pray.
During a rainy summer in Scotland towards the end of the nineteenth century, Alexander Whyte, minister and professor in the Free Church of Scotland, spent his mornings and evenings reading the works of Saint Teresa of Avila, beloved Reformer of the Carmelite Order in the sixteenth century. So moved by the words of the saint, Whyte wrote this short biography of Santa Teresa, along with summaries of her works. He also included selected passages from the writings of Santa Teresa on spirituality and theology, for the purpose of sharing these passages with young men and women that they might grow spiritually and intellectually. In this short tribute, Whyte passes on his adoration of Santa Teresa to the reader, along with the texts that so moved him, to bless those who read this beautiful and thoughtful work.
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